A robotic finger coated with living human skin heals itself after researchers covered it with a collagen bandage.

Innovation for Good

How Humanlike Do We Really Want Robots to Be?

The latest development in robotics wraps a mechanical finger in human skin, leading to broader questions about the future of cyborg technology

A 3-D animation put together using data from lidar shows the urban center of Cotoca.

Innovation for Good

Lost Cities of the Amazon Discovered From the Air

Mapping technology cut through the canopy to detect sprawling urban structures in Bolivia that suggest sophisticated cultures once existed

A new book, coedited by Smithsonian entomologist Ted Schultz, explores and the fascinating ways in which human and nonhuman farmers compare, and asks what we might learn from other agricultural species.

Could Ants, Termites and Fishes Make Humans Better Farmers?

Scientists are now revealing the agricultural expertise that other species have cultivated for tens of millions of years

Replica plaquettes were placed next to a fire to see how ambient light made stone carvings of animals appear to move.

Ice Age Artists May Have Used Firelight to Animate Carvings

Researchers examined 15,000-year-old stone art and suggest the makers were inspired to show movement by dynamic lighting of the fireside environment

Homo heidelbergensis, a species whose skull is pictured here, likely lived in regions that overlapped with Neanderthals in Europe and Homo sapiens in Africa—according to climate modeling results released this week.

How Did Climate Change Affect Ancient Humans?

Sophisticated climate models were paired with evidence from the archaeological record to reveal where ancient humans may have lived and evolved

Geologic processes have led to changes in the water and gases released by mudpots, geysers and springs—like this one.

Five Big Changes Scientists Have Documented During Yellowstone National Park's 150-Year History

Scientists have monitored the region closely for generations, and these are some of the most dramatic shifts they've seen

Lions spritzed with the hormone oxytocin stayed closer together.

Planet Positive

Can Spraying Lions With the 'Love Hormone' Help Them Live Together?

Researchers administered oxytocin to captive animals, and preliminary results showed the big cats were less hostile towards strangers

Boas constrict their prey to death.

How Boa Constrictors Breathe While Squeezing the Life Out of Their Prey

Researchers outfitted the snakes with electrodes and scanned them using X-rays to see how the flexing predators managed to take in air

A greater horseshoe bat can use echolocation to target an insect meal.

Five Amazing Adaptations That Help Animals Thrive in the Dark

From snakes that use infrared radiation to find prey to deep sea fishes that communicate via bioluminescence, these creatures flourish without light

The remote Kibish Formation, in southern Ethiopia, features layered deposits more than 300 feet thick that have preserved many ancient human tools and remains. 

East Africa's Oldest Modern Human Fossil Is Way Older Than Previously Thought

Analysis of ash from a massive volcanic eruption places the famed Omo I fossil 36,000 years back in time

A roughly 2000-year-old mummified man of the Ansilta culture, from the Andes of San Juan, Argentina, had lice eggs and cement in his hair which preserved his own DNA

DNA Preserved in Lice Glue Reveals South American Mummies' Secrets

Remarkable samples from an ancient culture offer scientists a promising new way to study the past

A humpback whale feeds on sand lance in the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.

Some Whales Can Eat Upwards of 16 Tons of Tiny Shrimp a Day

The giant mammals consume enormous quantities of marine organisms, three times more than previously thought, then their poop fertilizes the sea

A recreation of Viking structures at L’Anse aux Meadows

New Dating Method Shows Vikings Occupied Newfoundland in 1021 C.E.

Tree ring evidence of an ancient solar storm enables scientists to pinpoint the exact year of Norse settlement

An X-ray fluorescence scanner analyzes correspondence of Marie Antoinette and Fersen at France’s National Archives.

X-Ray Technology Reveals Marie Antoinette's Censored Secret Correspondence

A combination of the chemical analysis and advanced data processing used could reveal many more lost writings or drawings

Moai statues at the Rano Raraku site on Easter Island

Genetic Study Maps When and How Polynesians Settled the Pacific Islands

Mysterious stone figures on far-flung islands may have been erected by descendants of seafaring explorers from the same archipelago

A bone tool from Contrebandiers Cave likely used for making clothes out of the skin of predators.

Evidence of Fur and Leather Clothing, Among World's Oldest, Found in Moroccan Cave

Humans likely sported clothes made of jackal, fox and wildcat skins some 120,000 years ago

Working with the Papuan Past Project, François-Xavier Ricaut measures the lung function of a highlander study participant at St. Therese’s School at Denglagu mission.

Why Papua New Guinea's Highlanders Differ Physically From Those Living Near Sea Level

New research shows villagers living at high altitude are shorter, have higher lung capacity and have smaller waistlines

A recreation of Dragon Man

A 146,000-Year-Old Fossil Dubbed 'Dragon Man' Might Be One of Our Closest Relatives

A mysterious Middle Pleistocene skull from a Chinese well has inspired debate among paleoanthropologists

A virtual reconstruction of the child’s remains found in Panga ya Saidi cave in Kenya

Scientists Discover Oldest Known Human Grave in Africa

The unearthing of a tiny child suggests Africa’s Stone Age humans sometimes practiced funerary rites and had symbolic thoughts about death

Scientists excavate bones at Bacho Kiro Cave in Bulgaria. Four modern human bones were recovered from this layer along with a rich stone tool assemblage, animal bones, bone tools and pendants.

Some of Europe's Oldest-Known Modern Humans Are Distantly Related to Native Americans

Genome sequencing shows some individuals share family ties with surprising populations, and all boast plenty of Neanderthal relatives

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