The Mystery of the Missing Acorns

I was surprised to read in the Washington Post yesterday that oak trees from northern Virginia to Nova Scotia failed to produce any acorns this year


Picture of the Week – Is that Lettuce?

This is a sea slug, Elysia chlorotica, and it looks like a leaf because it has acquired chloroplasts from its algal prey and stored them in its gut lining


Cook Your Bird with Thermite!

Seven Questions for Turkey Day

In preparation for tomorrow’s big day, I offer you a selection of articles on the theme of turkey science:How did the turkey in my oven get so big?


Mountain Gorilla Rangers Negotiate Safe Passage in Congo

One of the first Smithsonian articles I worked on was last year’s Guerrillas in Their Midst, about the endangered mountain gorillas of Rwanda and Congo

The Body of Copernicus Is Identified

The famed astronomer wasn’t always so well known


Picture of the Week – A Newly Restored Photo of the Earth and Moon

This week’s Picture of the Week is the Earth as seen from the Moon, circa 1966.Thinking ahead, NASA sent five missions up to photograph the moon


I Thought Darwin Studied Finches


When Will There Be Herds of Mammoths?

With the announcement that the woolly mammoth genome has been sequenced, it seems natural to ask when we will finally see live mammoths


A Chemistry Lesson at the American History Museum

Spark!Lab at the National Museum of American History, which reopens on Friday after extensive renovations

Probabilistic seismic hazard map

California Shaking

Amazing animations from the USGS of a magnitude 7.8 scenario earthquake on the San Andreas Fault in southern California


Sabertooth Cat: More Like a Lion or a House Cat?

It is difficult to figure out the behaviors of an animal that lived thousands—or millions—of years ago when all you have are its fossilized bones


And the Next Species Predicted to Be Lost to Climate Change is…

…the antilopine wallaroo, a type of kangaroo that lives in wet, tropical areas of Australia

Picture of the Week - Deep-sea Octopi

Megeleledone setebos (bottom left), an octopus species endemic to the Southern Ocean, surrounded by related octopus species that evolved in the deep-sea

Slow Monsoon Seasons Led to End of Chinese Dynasties

Like ice cores or tree rings, stalagmites (those are the ones that grow up from the cave floor) can record ancient history

A fallow deer with its impressive but unevenly formed antler looks straight into the light of the setting sun.

Wild Things: Life as We Know It

Bats' barotrauma, fallow deer, Tahitian vanilla, lucky dinosaurs

Tyrannosaurus rex

How Dinosaur Poop Got Its Name

The term “coprolite” has its roots in the Greek language, derived from kopros, which means dung, and lithos, which means stone


How Breast Cancer Genes Work

Though we may talk of cancer as one disease, skin cancer has little in common with pancreatic cancer and breast cancer is something else entirely

Calaya gave birth to the Zoo's first male western lowland gorilla in nine years.

Good News/Bad News: The Primate Chapter

Basking sharks can be found in coastal waters and feed on plankton.

Wild Things: Life as We Know It

From zombie caterpillars to basking sharks at sea

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