Natural History Museum

In her new historic novel, Brooks reimagines the life of the itinerant artist Thomas J. Scott, who rendered the distinguished race horse in the oil painting, Portrait of Lexington, ca. 1857, a work that Smithsonian curator Eleanor Harvey describes as "visually riveting."

The Lost Story of Lexington, the Record-Breaking Thoroughbred, Races Back to Life

For her latest novel “Horse,” the Pulitzer-prize winning author Geraldine Brooks found inspiration in the Smithsonian collections

One reader wonders why men’s bicycles have crossbars but not women’s.


 

Why Do Only Men's Bicycles Have Crossbars? And More Questions From Our Readers

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A new book, coedited by Smithsonian entomologist Ted Schultz, explores and the fascinating ways in which human and nonhuman farmers compare, and asks what we might learn from other agricultural species.

Could Ants, Termites and Fishes Make Humans Better Farmers?

Scientists are now revealing the agricultural expertise that other species have cultivated for tens of millions of years

A male Philoponella prominens spider (top) mates with a female.

This Male Spider Catapults Itself Into the Air to Avoid Sexual Cannibalism

The arachnids propel themselves to safety at breakneck speeds after they’ve mated to avoid being eaten alive

One reader wonders how birds stay balanced on tree branches while they’re asleep. 
 

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How Do Birds Stay Upright When They Are Sleeping?

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The near-complete dinosaur fossil was sold at auction at Christie's to an anonymous buyer in October 2020 and many speculated that the dinosaur was lost to science.

Stan the T. Rex Will Be the Star of a New Museum in Abu Dhabi

The natural history museum will chronicle the story of the universe and life on Earth with a focus on the Arabian Peninsula's flora and fauna

The Smithsonian has 39 of the Benin pieces in its collections, above: Commemorative head of a king, Edo artist, 18th century.

The Smithsonian's Plan to Return the Benin Bronzes Comes After Years of Relationship Building

The ground-breaking move heralds a new path for interactions between African and Western institutions

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

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

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Nick Pyenson, the Smithsonian Institution’s curator of fossil marine mammals, compares the skeletons of ancient whales to the life-sized model of a North Atlantic right whale displayed at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. Whales have been evolving for more than 50 million years, and long before becoming ocean-dwelling giants, the earliest cetaceans walked on land. 

This Cliff Face Is Packed With Fossilized Whale Remains

An exposed prehistoric seafloor is a hotspot for relics, and now an international team is helping unravel their mysteries

The 55-faceted gemstone is believed to be the largest cut black diamond in the world.

A Huge Black Diamond, Purportedly From Outer Space, Is Now Up for Sale

The gem known as the 'Enigma' is expected to fetch around $7 million at auction, though experts are skeptical of its cosmic origin

The explosion was likely the biggest volcanic eruption recorded anywhere on the planet in more than 30 years.

Why the Eruption in Tonga Was a 'Once-in-a-Millennium' Event for the Volcano

The blast, which sent tsunami waves across the Pacific, left thousands of Tongans without access to water and power

The remote Kibish Formation, in southern Ethiopia, features layered deposits more than 300 feet thick that have preserved many ancient human tools and remains. 

East Africa's Oldest Modern Human Fossil Is Way Older Than Previously Thought

Analysis of ash from a massive volcanic eruption places the famed Omo I fossil 36,000 years back in time

One reader wonders what graffiti was like before spray paint.

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What Did Graffiti Look Like Before Spray Paint and More Questions From Our Readers

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Evotourism ®

Seven New Things We Learned About Human Evolution in 2021

Paleoanthropologists Briana Pobiner and Ryan McRae reveal some of the year's best findings in human origins studies

A humpback whale and her calf swim underwater. A recent study in Nature found whales eat and poop way more than previously thought—and that feces plays an important role in fertilizing the ocean.

The Top Ten Ocean Stories of 2021

From the discovery of a large bioluminescent shark to the use of an innovative drone to study hurricanes, these are the best marine stories of the year

One reader wonders why more flowers and fruits aren't blue-hued.

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Why Are So Few Flowers and Fruits Blue? And More Questions From Our Readers

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A humpback whale feeds on sand lance in the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.

Some Whales Can Eat Upwards of 16 Tons of Tiny Shrimp a Day

The giant mammals consume enormous quantities of marine organisms, three times more than previously thought, then their poop fertilizes the sea

All mollusks build their own shells.

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How Do Snails Get Their Shells? And More Questions From Our Readers

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Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for captive apes.

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How Do Gorillas Get Heart Disease? And More Questions From Our Readers

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The Tuxtla statuette, discovered in Veracruz, Mexico, in 1902, now resides in the National Museum of Natural History.

What Secrets Does This 1,800-Year-Old Carved Stone Hold?

The Tuxtla Statuette illuminates an endangered Latin American culture

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