New Research at Smithsonian

The Evolution of Terrestrial Ecosystems working group combines expertise from paleontologists and ecologists to improve our understanding of ancient and modern ecosystems

Smithsonian Voices

A New Study Shows How Evolution Was Driven by How Different Species Interacted

Competition for resources, symbiosis or predation shapes the evolution and survival of species

The Smithsonian’s Division of Birds provided about 40% of the tissue samples for the new bird genomes in a landmark study.

Smithsonian Voices

Landmark Study Relies on Bird DNA Collected Over Three Decades at the Smithsonian

A new study in Nature published the genomes—the complete DNA sequences—of 363 species of birds, opening the door for hundreds of new studies

The Peruvian tern's desert camouflage makes it almost impossible to track, but that’s exactly what our research team set out to do.

Smithsonian Voices

Searching for the Invisible, Invincible Peruvian Tern

The Peruvian tern's desert camouflage makes it almost impossible to track, but that’s exactly what the research team set out to do

This mummified steppe bison was donated to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in the 1970s. Right now, museum audiences can see it online during a virtual tour.

Smithsonian Voices

How Bison Mummies Help Scientists to Ruminate on Ancient Climate

Bison mummies hold valuable information for researchers who want to understand how biodiversity evolved and responded to climate change.

From leaf-engineering to complex social circles, there’s more to bats than flying and echolocation.

Smithsonian Voices

Five Reasons to Love Bats

Make Halloween the reason to learn to love and conserve these misunderstood mammals

An overview of the Olorgesailie basin landscape, where the archeological site exists that contains stone weapons and tools

To Adapt to a Changing Environment 400,000 Years Ago, Early Humans Developed New Tools and Behaviors

When the East African Rift Valley transformed dramatically, new weapons arose and trade expanded

In 1943 the all-wing and jet-propelled Horten Ho 229 promised spectacular performance and the German air force (Luftwaffe) chief, Hermann Göring, allocated half-a-million Reichsmarks to brothers Reimar and Walter Horten to build and fly several prototypes.

Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction With Horten's All-Wing Aircraft Design

New research dispels some of the myths behind the world's first jet-powered flying wing

A reintroduced swift fox outfitted with a GPS collar looks out across the shortgrass prairie of the Fort Belknap Reservation in northern Montana. The tribes on the reservation are bringing the species back to Fort Belknap after an absence of more than 50 years.

Tribes Reintroduce Swift Fox to Northern Montana's Fort Belknap Reservation

After absence of more than 50 years, the pint-sized predator returns to the prairie

Paul Lester Wiener and an unidentified advisor for the U.S. Pavilion murals, Private archive of Eduard “Buk” Ulreich, St. Louis, MO.

Smithsonian Voices

Help This Scholar Reverse the Erasure of Native Contributions in the Creation of These 20th-Century Murals

Native artists working on monumental, public works of art remain unidentified and unrecognized; it's time to change that

The Yonahlossee salamander is a woodland species from the southern Appalachian Mountains in the United States

Smithsonian Voices

Here's How You Can Help Amphibians in the Fight Against Extinction

We now know that the killer chytrid fungus originated in Asia and that humans unintentionally spread it around the world

Southern elephant seals normally live in the South Atlantic, often as far south as Antarctica. These are young male Southern elephant seals from the South Shetland and Anvers islands, Antarctica.

Smithsonian Voices

What a 1,000-Year-Old Seal Skull Can Tell Us About Climate Change

In a new study, scientists explain how a seal native to the South Atlantic, but found in Indiana, likely swam to the middle of North America

Knowing that the birds do some extracurricular exploration when they reach their breeding grounds means scientists may need to expand the range of future studies.

High-Tech Tracking Reveals 'Whole New Secret World of Birds'

A study of Kirtland’s warblers found that some continue exploring long distances even after they reach their breeding grounds

Not much is known about the megamouth, which was first observed by scientists in 1976. A new specimen (not pictured above) has traveled to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, where researchers will study it to learn more about its behavior and life cycle.

Smithsonian Voices

Rare Megamouth Shark Arrives at the Smithsonian

Studying and eventually preserving the megamouth will help researchers learn more about the puzzling species

Sahara Conservation Fund ecological monitoring member Habib Ali (next to vehicle) engaging in typical day-to-day monitoring of reintroduced oryx.

Smithsonian Voices

Continuing Conservation in a Planet on Lockdown

Capacity building and local community involvement are key to continuing conservation during the current pandemic

North American River Otter (Lontra canadensis) at Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge in Florida.

Smithsonian Voices

River Otters Take 'Party Pooping' to a New Level

Latrines keep otters up to date on who is around, how they are feeling, and who’s ready to have babies

Bat ticks (Ornithodoros) under a microscope. These parasites primarily feed on bats and were collected from bats roosting beneath a Mayan Temple in Belize. Very little is known about these ticks and many species are unknown to science.

Smithsonian Voices

Why We Need to Save the Parasites

Extinction will have lasting and far-reaching consequences for biodiversity, and subsequently for humans

For the first time, an ultra-black skin color or pigmentation that protects 16 varieties of deep-sea fishes has been documented.

Elusive, Ultra-Black Fish Are Cloaked to Survive in the Deep Ocean

Special pigment cells in deep-sea fish may provide clues to cancer treatment and stealthy new materials

“Footprints give us information about anatomy and group dynamics that you just can’t get from bones,” says the Smithsonian's Briana Pobiner.

Ancient Toes and Soles of Fossilized Footprints Now 3-D Digitized for the Ages

New research suggests that for the prehistoric foragers that walked this path, labor was divided between men and women

Smithsonian researchers studied 67 forest plots in a section of the Blue Ridge Mountains. They found that hemlock woolly adelgid had decimated hemlock populations.

Decades of Tree Data Reveal Forests Under Attack

Smithsonian researchers with ForestGEO found that invasive species are linked to roughly one in four tree deaths in a section of the Blue Ridge Mountains

A new study from scientists at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Center analyzed about 35,000 bone and shell fragments from the Maya city of Ceibal.

Bones Tell the Tale of a Maya Settlement

A new study tracks how the ancient civilization used animals for food, ritual purposes and even as curiosities

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