Author: Emily Leclerc

Emily Leclerc

Emily Leclerc is an intern in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History’s Office of Communications and Public Affairs. Her writing has appeared in Boston University News Service, Wahpeton Daily News and Dana-Farber’s Insight Blog, among others. Emily recently graduated from Boston University with an MS in journalism. She also holds a BA in biology from Roanoke College in Virginia. You can find her at

The National Museum of Natural History’s 146 million objects and specimens are studied by researchers worldwide who are looking to understand all aspects of the natural world. (Chip Clark, Smithsonian)
All modern dogs are descended from a wolf species that when extinct around 15,000 years ago. Grey wolves, pictured here fighting for food with now extinct dire wolves (red), are dogs’ closest living relative. (Art by Mauricio Antón)
Sylvester Musembi Musyoka, a Kenyan colleague and field crew leader, recording a large mammal fossil bone during a virtual field project to collect fossils in Kenyan excavation sites that were in danger of being damaged by severe weather. (Nzioki Mativo/Smithsonian)
The cyanobacteria species that produces gatorbulin-1, tentatively identified as Lyngbya confervoides, forms these reddish-green, hair-like structures which are a collection of connected single cells rather than a true multicellular organism. (Raphael Ritson-Williams)
Scientists described a new species of Bryde’s-like whale using the skeleton of a whale that washed ashore in the Florida Everglades in 2019 and is now part of the Smithsonian’s marine mammals collection. (NOAA/NMFS/SEFSC Permit No. 779-1633-0)
The broad-tailed hummingbird uses its fiery throat feathers, called a gorget, to attract a mate. (Kati Fleming, CC BY-SA 3.0)
Leconte’s flatsedge (Cyperus lecontei) has distinctive spikelet scales and fruit which are used by scientists to identify it. (Carol Kelloff)