New Research at Smithsonian

Banaue rice terraces (N. Luzon, Philippines) taken from observation point at beginning of road to Bontoc

Age of Humans

Since the Late Pleistocene Humans Were Already Radically Transforming the Earth

A new study suggests that trying to return habitats to a non human-impacted environment might not be realistic

A trowel placed in a Native American oyster midden that dates to about 1,000 years ago shows the relative size of the  shells. The average size of modern oysters is significantly smaller.

How Big Were Oysters in the Chesapeake Before Colonization?

A new multidisciplinary study reveals that yes, oysters were larger and more plentiful before European contact

A club from Massachusetts in the shape of a fish, probably Atlantic sturgeon, dates to about 1750. The area was previously thought to have only one language at the time of European contact, but new research reveals there were five Native American languages were spoken in the Connecticut Valley of central Massachusetts.

Five Lost Languages Rediscovered in Massachusetts

Smithsonian linguist Ives Goddard finds that the Native Americans of central Massachusetts spoke five languages instead of one

Trachymolgus purpureus

Enjoy Face Time with Seven of Earth's 3 to 5 Million Mite Species

A Smithsonian collection of some one million species of mites is receiving its up close and personal

After a century in which black holes went from theoretical nuisances to undisputed facts, a new initiative at the Harvard -Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics will study them.

Think Big

Stephen Hawking on Why Black Holes Are Worthy of Your Consideration

A new Harvard-Smithsonian initiative will delve into the places in the universe where spacetime sags around massive objects

The scimitar-horned oryx was declared extinct in the wild in 2000.

Rewilding the African Scimitar-Horned Oryx

In a historic first, an animal that went extinct in the African wild is reintroduced, giving hope for many endangered species

The Chilarchaea quellon trap-jaw spider can snap its long chelicerae shut in about a quarter of a millisecond.

Tiny Spiders Are the Fastest Known on Earth

Some trap-jaw spiders can snap their mouths shut with incredible force—in less than a millisecond

In a reconstruction, by artist John Gurche, the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum displays what the Hobbit would have looked like in the Hall of Human Origins.

“Hobbits” Disappeared Much Earlier Than Previously Thought

If the tiny hominins ever coexisted with modern humans, the arrangement apparently didn't last long

A reconstruction of the horse-sized tyrannosaur Timurlengia euotica, named for the charismatic Central Asian ruler Tamerlane, shows the species' long, slender legs, large head and teeth built sharp like a steak knife.

The Discovery of a Tiny Tyrannosaur Adds New Insight Into the Origins of T. Rex

The horse-sized dino species had smarts and a keen sense of smell, setting the stage for the evolution of the enormous predator

A biocube is placed in Central Park's Hallett Nature Sanctuary in New York City.

You'd Be Astounded to Learn How Much Wildlife Can Fit Into One Cubic Foot

A whole new world opens up when you try to catalog every visible creature that moves in and out of a biocube set down on either land or in water

“One out of every four deer that you see on your lawn or in the woods is infected with malaria,” says Ellen Martinsen.

One in Four U.S. Deer Is Infected With Malaria

Scientists suspect the undetected blood parasite has been present in the animals ever since they arrived across the Bering Land Bridge

An image of the fossilized lacewing Oregramma illecebrosa, left, and the modern owl butterfly Calico Memnon, right.

New Research

Jurassic-Era Insect Looks Just Like a Modern Butterfly

Jurassic "butterflies" helped pollinate ancient plants millions of years before the butterfly even existed

“We’ve been raising CO2 in this marsh for 30 years, but [elevated] CO2 comes with warming,” says Pat Megonigal, lead researcher of the new study in the Global Change Research Wetland at Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC).

Age of Humans

For the World’s Wetlands, It May Be Sink or Swim. Here’s Why It Matters

One of the world’s most long-studied marshes has revealed a wealth of information, but it continues to perplex and intrigue the scientists who analyze it

A cheetah stalks past a herd of giraffes in Kenya's Masai Mara National Reserve.

Age of Humans

Humans Caused a Major Shift in Earth's Ecosystems 6,000 Years Ago

We upended a pattern held for 300 million years, and that may mean we are causing a new phase in global evolution

Lush rainforest surrounds the Chagres River in Panama.

Age of Humans

Some Forests Have Outsized Impacts on Local Water

A comprehensive new report emphasizes the importance of upland forests for providing clean water, mitigating storms and reducing erosion

An illustration shows what Shonisaurus popularis might have looked like in the late Triassic.

What Killed These Marine Reptiles Found in a Nevada Ghost Town?

Paleontologists are going high tech to solve the mystery of a mass ichthyosaur death near the old mining town of Berlin

The IVF pups were more than 30 years in the making.

New Research

These Baby Beagles Are the First Dogs Born by In Vitro Fertilization

After more than 30 years, scientists have figured out how to create healthy puppies in the lab

With the recent opening of the Northwest Passage in the Arctic due to melting sea ice barriers, Smithsonian research biologist Seabird McKeon and his team report increasing numbers of animals making the journey into new territories.

Age of Humans

If Atlantic and Pacific Sea Worlds Collide, Does That Spell Catastrophe?

While the Arctic ice melt is opening up east to west shipping lanes, some 75 animals species might also make the journey

When people come to the Smithsonian,” says lighting designer Scott Rosenfeld, (inside the gallery displaying the work of mixed media artist Gabriel Dawe) “they want to experience art. They don’t have to worry about spectrum.”

The Renwick Reopens

The Renwick's New Lighting Saves Energy, Money, Art, and Your Eyes, All at the Same Time

There’s way more to it than just screwing in the bulb and the museum’s chief lighting designer is turning it into an artform

The fossils, encased in rock and sediment, were collected from marine rocks that date to around six million years ago before the Isthmus of Panama formed and a seaway connected the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

New Species of Ancient Dolphin Shows How the Animals Moved From Seas to Rivers

The newly discovered fossil gives scientists a fresh glimpse into the evolution of ocean life

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