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A sea turtle enters the waters of the Galápagos Islands to join divers who are exploring its home.

Celebrate World Turtle Day With 15 Photographs of the Delightful Reptiles

These shots from the Smithsonian Magazine Photo contest show why turtles are so terrific

Evidence suggests blue whales were an important food source for Icelanders.

Medieval Icelanders Likely Hunted Blue Whales

New research suggests Viking-age hunters took down the biggest animal on Earth

A composite image of Jupiter, taken by the Juno spacecraft

The Seven Most Amazing Discoveries We’ve Made by Exploring Jupiter

The giant planet is a world of extremes

Rangers clear deceased birds from Staple Island in England, where avian flu had a devastating effect on a seabird colony.

Four Important Questions About Bird Flu, Answered

The virus has killed tens of millions of birds and infected hundreds of species of animals, including dairy cattle in the United States. Here’s what you should know about it

A diving bell spider with a captured bug under the water

These Funky Spiders Are Lurking by the Water

Some make nests inside seashells, while others tote bubbles of air on their backs

Speleologists in metallurgical “cooling suits” emerge from the extreme heat of a lava tube formed by the eruption in 2021 of Mount Fagradalsfjall.

Journey Into the Fiery Depths of Earth’s Youngest Caves

What Iceland's volcanoes are revealing about early life on our planet

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This Doctor Pioneered Counting Calories a Century Ago, and We’re Still Dealing With the Consequences

When Lulu Hunt Peters brought Americans a new method for weighing their dinner options, she launched a century of diet fads that left us hungry for a better way to keep our bodies strong and healthy

A male western snowy plover stands guard over his nest. During breeding season, males tend to the chicks while females seek a new mate. 

How Scientists Are Protecting Plovers’ Beachfront Lifestyle

Camouflaged by the sand, these threatened shorebirds aim to hide from predators. Now conservationists are trying to give their breeding efforts a boost

Fossilized footprints, preserved in gypsum mud that hardened over time, are estimated to be 23,000-21,000 years old. 

Tracking Humans’ First Footsteps in North America

At a site in New Mexico, a new discovery rewrites the human history of the continent

A mother Siphonops annulatus with newborn babies.

Inside the Wild Ways Many Creatures Make Milk

Mammals aren’t the only animals that provide nutritious secretions for their young

Where do we get the seeds for seedless fruit?

Where Do We Get Seeds for Seedless Fruit? And More Questions From Our Readers

You’ve got questions. We’ve got experts

In the late 1960s, Bob Paine described the Pisaster sea star as a “keystone species” in Pacific Northwest tide pools. The concept has since taken on a life of its own.

Has the Term 'Keystone Species' Lost Its Meaning?

More than 50 years after Bob Paine’s experiment with starfish, hundreds of species have been pronounced “keystones” in their ecosystems

Bruce McCandless floats freely in space with Earth 170 miles beneath him.

The Inside Story of the First Untethered Spacewalk

On February 7, 1984, astronaut Bruce McCandless ventured out into space and away from shuttle Challenger using only a nitrogen-propelled, hand-controlled backpack

A bat clings to the roof of an abandoned cellar—an unlikely but vital habitat type for Europe’s bats.

How a Fantastical Labyrinth Became a Crucial Habitat for Europe’s Bats

After scientists documented the flying mammals in the Piusa Sand Caves, dug by miners a century ago, conservationists strove to protect the vital habitat

Exceeding 50 feet in length, Mosasaurus hoffmannii was among the largest mosasaurs.

Massive Mosasaurs May Have Evolved More Than Once

The predators, which were made famous in the “Jurassic World” franchise, likely arose at least three times

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How Artificial Intelligence Is Making 2,000-Year-Old Scrolls Readable Again

The innovative “Vesuvius Challenge” unlocked a mystery that had confounded archeologists for centuries

A moose moves through the forest.

How Should Colorado Handle Its Booming Moose Population?

Roughly 3,000 animals now roam the state's mountain ranges

A variety of plants and animals go through periods where they are dormant or in the dark.

Move Over, Cicadas: These Living Things ‘Go Dark’ For a Long Time, Too

From frogs to orchids, many organisms go dormant or move underground for lengthy stints

A multi-vortex tornado touches down on the town of Patricia, Texas.

Ten Amazing Facts About Tornadoes, Explained

To prepare you for the movie “Twisters,” we’ve compiled some jaw-dropping details about the powerful phenomenon

The cutter Douglas Munro and crew searching for illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activity—including high seas drift-net fishing

How A.I. Is Revolutionizing Marine Conservation

Driven by a childhood marked by war and environmental devastation, marine scientist Dyhia Belhabib developed an innovative technology to combat illegal fishing

Photo of the day

While on a photographic project Borneo, I noticed this young orangutan hanging in a tree alone while his mother was nearby. He had gotten a small banana and was looking for a place to settle and eat it. Hanging Out