Natural History Museum

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

Both beer and wine are thought to predate distilled spirits.

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'Which Came First: Beer or Wine?' and More Questions From Our Readers

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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

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Smithsonian Voices

Drop in Greenhouse Gas Caused Global Cooling 34 Million Years Ago

A new study confirms that carbon dioxide plays a significant role in any climate change

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

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Smithsonian Voices

Scientists Award the Pygmy Sorrel Moth a Big Title

This minute species now holds the coveted title of world's smallest moth

There are about 160,000 species of moths and butterflies worldwide, each with unique characteristics.

Smithsonian Voices

Marvel at the World's Most Magnificent Moths

With thousands of species of moths worldwide, each with unique characteristics, check out these unusual specimens in the Smithsonian collections

Cher Ami, April 1918–June 1919

Smithsonian Voices

Solving a 100-Year-Old Mystery About the Brave Pigeon Cher Ami

Science determines the most famous pigeon in World War I history was not a female, but a cock bird

From forests to fish to flakes of snow, the science behind ice cream reaches beyond the cone.

Smithsonian Voices

The Strangely Scientific Endeavor of Making Ice Cream

Ice cream's texture is the result of the same processes that govern concepts like forest recovery, rock formation and sub-zero survival in animals.

Chris Meyer, a marine invertebrate zoologist at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, dives around French Polynesia with equipment used to track coral reef health.

Future of Conservation

Meet the Reef Expert Collecting Environmental Time Capsules

Collecting DNA in waters worldwide can help scientists figure out which places are the most important for conservation

Two-toed sloths (Choloepus hoffmanni) live in the canopy layer of the Panamanian rainforest. Find out why in a family program streaming July 17.

Smithsonian Voices

Five Free Natural History Programs Streaming in July

From permafrost to the rainforest canopy to the protection of pollinators, the online events are perfect for beating the summer heat

James Smithson was the Smithsonian’s founding donor, bequeathing approximately one ton of gold British sovereigns.

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Why Did James Smithson Leave His Fortune to the U.S. and More Questions From Our Readers

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Head scientist at the Smithsonian Marine Station, Valerie Paul, collects blue-green algae samples to study the chemicals they emit. Those chemicals can endanger coral reefs, but also have biomedical potential.

Smithsonian Voices

How Algae Communicate

Smithsonian scientist Valerie Paul studies the ways marine biochemicals can potentially help restore coral reefs and create new biomedicine

Townsend captured the Oregon dark-eyed junco, above, and the Townsend’s warbler, below, named after him—for now.

Birds Collected Nearly Two Centuries Ago Still Help Scientists Today

The specimens gathered during an illustrious expedition by naturalist John Kirk Townsend continue to provide value to researchers

The Algodón River flows through a forest of the Amazon Basin in the remote northeastern corner of Peru. Scientists collected and analyzed a series of ten roughly 3-foot-long soil cores from three sites, each located at least a half-mile away from river courses and floodplains.

Future of Conservation

In a Remote Amazon Region, Study Shows Indigenous Peoples Have Practiced Forest Conservation for Millennia

Smithsonian researcher Dolores Piperno says native people have always played an important role in sustainability

A giant replica of the Aedes mosquito, a known vector for the disease yellow fever, has been waiting for visitors to return the National Museum of Natural History’s “Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World” exhibit.

Smithsonian Voices

Don't Miss These Objects When the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum Reopens

See everything from a giant replica of a mosquito, to an Allosaurus fossil, to a pink fairy armadillo when the museum opens June 18

This jellyfish, Scolionema suvaense, was raised in the National Museum of Natural History’s Invertebrate Zoology “AquaRoom.” Here, the species is sinking through food with its tentacles spread wide.

Smithsonian Voices

Live Jellyfish Make a Splash in Marine Education

Smithsonian's AquaRoom helps scientists learn more about these animals’ lives and educate future generations about their marine neighbors

Oil Spill #10, Oil Slick at Rip Tide, Gulf of Mexico, June 24, 2010 (detail) by Edward Burtynsky, 2010

The Sad Truths Behind These Unsettling Works of Art

A new exhibition reflects on the haunting aesthetics of human impact on the planet

Sourcing her fish skin from Iceland, Elisa Palomino-Perez designs, dyes and assembles her fashion accessories. Bag handmade by Jay Zaccheus.

Innovation for Good

Does Fish Skin Have a Future in Fashion?

To promote sustainability in the industry, designer Elisa Palomino-Perez is embracing the traditional Indigenous practice of crafting with fish leather

While this year’s Arctic sea ice extended further than last year’s, there still wasn’t as much of it as there was only two decades ago. Thinner and younger sea ice in winter and less ice in the summer are two of the many elements of the Arctic’s new reality.

Smithsonian Voices

Climate Change Redefines Meaning of Normal in the Arctic

As Earth’s climate changes, people around the world are witnessing insidious changes and responding to their new normal