Extinction

A skeleton of the giant Triassic ichthyosaur Shonisaurus popularis hangs in the Nevada State Museum.

Whale-Sized Marine Reptiles Once Ruled the Seas

Paleontologists are beginning to learn how and why ichthyosaurs evolved into giants

A Tuatara in New Zealand

One in Five Reptiles Worldwide Are Threatened With Extinction

Researchers assessed over 10,000 species in a comprehensive new study

A snorkeler comes face to face with a humpback whale. If humans work to halt climate change, that may help prevent another mass extinction event in the oceans.

Without Action on Climate, Another Mass Extinction Event Will Likely Happen in the World's Oceans

Marine species at the poles will face increasing pressure if warming isn’t curbed

An Edmontosaurus herd grazes in a forest.

The Last Day of a Doomed Dinosaur

The young, eighteen-foot-long Edmontosaurus had no idea about his fate as he grazed in a forest

The dinosaur leg fossil will be featured in an upcoming BBC documentary special premiering April 15. 

Paleontologists Find Fossilized Remains of a Dinosaur Possibly Killed in Earth's Fifth Mass Extinction Event

The leg bone is one of many other specimens uncovered at the North Dakota site

Officials found thousands of taxidermy animals in a warehouse outside of Valencia, including specimens of cheetah, leopard, lion, lynx, polar bear, snow leopard and white rhinoceros.

Police Find 1,090 Taxidermy Animals in a Private Collection in Spain

The animals include about 400 protected species

Reconstruction of debris surging into the Tanis River as impact spherules rain down from the sky. A dinosaur tries to get away from the disaster.

Asteroid That Decimated the Dinosaurs Struck in Spring

Clues from fossil fish help scientists pinpoint the season when Earth’s fifth mass extinction began

One reader wonders if European modernists thought of the American painter Georgia O’Keeffe as a remarkable artist.
 

Ask Smithsonian

Was Georgia O'Keeffe's Genius Appreciated Outside of America? And More Questions From Our Readers

You've got questions. We've got experts.

The tyrannosaur Nanuqsaurus, which lived in the Arctic, with its young. New evidence suggests dinosaurs nested in the cold, dark region.

The Top Ten Dinosaur Discoveries of 2021

The key finds and moments in a year packed with amazing stories about the terrible lizards

The tentacled butterfly ray hadn’t been documented since 1986, but in 2019 Mohsen Rezaie-Atagholipour started finding them hidden as by-catch in Iranian shrimpers’ catch.

Presumed Extinct Tentacled Butterfly Ray Is Found

Scientists were shocked to find the species holding out in the water off Iran

Gigantic and extinct, Steller’s sea cows would have played an important role in shaping their environment.

How Steller's Sea Cows Impacted the Environment They Left Behind

A new paper explores the ways these extinct megaherbivores would have reshaped kelp forests across the North Pacific

Some conservationists have held out hope for species like the ivory-billed woodpecker, which was last spotted in 1944.

Ivory-Billed Woodpecker and 22 Other Species Declared Extinct

Many organisms included in the latest declaration were feared to be lost long before the Endangered Species Act of 1973 was first passed

A mammoth replica on display at the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, Canada.

These Scientists Plan to Fully Resurrect a Woolly Mammoth Within the Decade

A company has raised $15 million to bring the species back from extinction using gene editing technology

Resurrecting the Sublime recreates the scent of Hibiscadelphus wilderianus, which went extinct in 1912.

What Do These Extinct Plants Smell Like?

A multidisciplinary collaboration resurrects three types of flora lost due to 20th-century colonialism

When comparing the genomes, the team found that the birds of Stewart Island had less genetic diversity than the mainland birds and had half as many mutations as the birds that dwelled on the mainland.

Thousands of Years of Inbreeding May Have Saved This Flightless Parrot From Extinction

The Kākāpō had fewer mutations in its genome despite a small genetic pool and long history of isolation due to a previous near-extinction event

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

Emperor penguins are the world's largest penguin, standing almost four feet tall and weighing around 88 pounds. They live almost exclusively in Antarctica and need sea ice to survive.

New Research

Climate Change Poised to Push Emperor Penguins to the Brink of Extinction

Study estimates 98 percent of colonies will be quasi-extinct by 2100 unless the world drastically reduces its greenhouse gas emissions

The butterflies have experienced major losses in populations on both the East and West coasts.

Climate Change Is Decimating Monarch Populations, Research Shows

Western monarchs have lost 99.9 percent of their numbers since the 1980s

This is the 93-year-old Xerces blue butterfly specimen that researchers collected tissue samples from for this study.

New Research

This Butterfly Is the First U.S. Insect to Be Wiped Out by Humans

Genetic tests using museum specimens suggest that the Xerces blue was a distinct species and that it disappeared in 1941

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