Wildlife

A diver swims over a bleached section of the Great Barrier Reef near Heron Island.

The Planet Has Lost Half of Its Coral Reefs Since 1950

A new study finds dramatic declines in coral reef cover, biodiversity and fish abundance

Researchers with the Kivi Kuaka project are tagging a variety of Pacific birds, hoping they will reveal differences in their capacity to detect and respond to dangerous storms and tsunamis.

Can Birds Tip Us Off to Natural Disasters?

Researchers think birds can hear hurricanes and tsunamis—a sense they’re hoping to tap into to develop a bird-based early warning system

The researchers retrieved frog foam from the forests of Trinidad and brought it back to their lab after removing the eggs, hatching them and returning the tadpoles to the wild.

Frog Foam May Help Deliver Drugs to Human Skin

A new study suggests the concoction created by mating amphibians may help dispense medicine slowly over time

A thermal image shows a parrot releasing heat through its beak and talons. Researchers have found that since 1871 some parrots have increased their beak area up to 10 percent.

Animals Are Changing Shape to Cope With Rising Temperatures

Birds, bats, rabbits, mice and other creatures are growing bigger body parts to cool themselves off

A Brief, Fascinating History of Ambergris

The odd, enduring appeal of a scarce commodity few people use and no one really needs

A spotted skunk does a handstand.

Scientists Identify Seven Species of Spotted Skunks, and They All Do Handstands Before They Spray

Researchers analyzed hundreds of spotted skunk specimens to classify the animals

The Nautilus, a research vessel operated by the Ocean Exploration Trust, and the ROV Hercules (in the water) on the hunt for a cancer-busting marine bacteria.

A Marine Bacteria Species Shows Promise for Curing an Aggressive Brain Cancer

A new glioblastoma drug is derived from a microbe found in the ocean at depths of up to 6,500 feet

African wild dogs are skilled hunters.

Future of Conservation

Endangered Wild Dogs Rely on Diverse Habitat to Survive Around Lions

A new study shows that bramble and brush help the canines avoid attacks by the big cats, and may offer clues about where to reintroduce the dogs

In this long exposure picture, trees burn on a hillside behind Honey Lake campground during the Dixie Fire on August 18, 2021 in Milford, California. The wildfire in Northern California continues to grow, burning over 626,000 acres according to CalFire.

Innovation for Good

From Supercomputers to Fire-Starting Drones, These Tools Help Fight Wildfires

As climate change worsens wildfires in the West, agencies are tapping into new technologies to keep up with the flames

Olive sea snakes are among the largest marine snake species and sometimes make contact with divers.

Venomous Sea Snakes That Charge Divers May Just Be Looking for Love

A new study suggests apparent attacks are actually fleeting cases of mistaken identity

Mosquitoes are more than blood-sucking menaces. They also pollinate flowers, have intricate sex lives and eat other disease-carrying mosquitoes.

Smithsonian Voices

The Unexpected Beauty, Benefits and Diversity of the Mosquito, the World's Most Hated Insect

While some are a nuisance, others working as nighttime pollinators may be critically important to a functioning ecosystem

Male acorn woodpeckers, like the one on the left, have more offspring over their lives when they’re polygamous, according to new research.

Smithsonian Voices

Polygamy Helps Male Acorn Woodpeckers Thrive

The findings of a new study could help scientists learn more about how social behaviors evolved in other animals

In an event where a cheetah attacks an impala and the prey survives, the trauma can leave lasting effects on the survivor’s behavior that resemble post-traumatic stress disorder in people.

Do Wild Animals Get PTSD?

Many creatures show lasting changes in behavior and physiology after a traumatic experience

One year ago, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo welcomed Xiao Qi Ji—a precious giant panda born in the midst of a global pandemic.

Smithsonian Voices

Watch Giant Panda Cub Eating Sweet Potatoes, Tumbling With Toys and Tasting Snow

Celebrate Xiao Qi Ji's birthday with a look back at his first year

The most recent additions to the scimitar-horned oryx herd at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute are two calves borne from an improved artificial insemination method.

Future of Conservation

Two New Scimitar-Horned Oryx Calves Born Through Improved Methods of Artificial Insemination

The assisted reproduction method will help with population management efforts of these critically endangered species and their rewilding

An adult male woolly mammoth navigates a mountain pass 17,100 years ago.

Beyond Dinosaurs: The Secrets of Earth's Past

Woolly Mammoths Roamed Far and Wide Just Like Living Elephants

A new analysis of a mammoth tusk tracks the movements of an Ice Age icon

Bald eagles are native to the United States, but caring for them is a unique and rare opportunity. Every bald eagle in human care, including Annie pictured here, is a rescue.

Smithsonian Voices

Meet Rescued Bald Eagles Tioga and Annie

Every one of these birds under human care is a rescue; it is illegal to breed and keep these birds otherwise

Smooth pearls in the shape of orbs and ovals are usually created by bivalves, like mussels, in pearl farms. As with all gems, the less blemishes they have, the more valuable they are.

Smithsonian Voices

The True Story Behind How Pearls Are Made

Mollusks create these shiny gems, but that biological process could change as Earth’s waters warm

A present-day orange demosponge (Agelas oroides) can be found off the coast of Corfu, Greece. Research suggests sponges may have lived on Earth 890 million years ago.

This Sponge Fossil May Be the Earliest Record of Animal Life

The 890-million-year-old relic predates periods of extreme cold and the planet’s second oxygenation spike

A sulfur-crested cockatoo flips open the lid of a bin.

Why Australia's Trash Bin–Raiding Cockatoos Are the 'Punks of the Bird World'

The birds can bust open garbage lids—and the behavior is catching on fast, which could be a sign of social learning

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