Natural Sciences

Many types of mosses live in British Columbia.

Will the Slender-Yoke Moss Be Saved?

In the crush of conservation priorities, scientists grapple with how to help an endangered species with no obvious value

This year's top ten titles explore the cosmos, fear and cleanliness alongside narratives about owls, fish and eels.

The Ten Best Science Books of 2020

New titles explore the mysterious lives of eels, the science of fear and our connections to the stars

Charles Darwin in 1857, photograph by Maull and Fox

Two Darwin Notebooks Quietly Went Missing 20 Years Ago. Were They Stolen?

Staff at Cambridge University Libraries previously assumed that the papers had simply been misplaced in the vast collections

Ken Jennings, known to millions as a game show champion, is also is a fan of Alexander von Humboldt, a Prussian naturalist with an endless curiosity.

'Jeopardy!' Champion Ken Jennings on Lessons Learned From Alexander von Humboldt

“I’ll take Alexander von Humboldt for $500, Alex”

How would you calculate the weight of a T. Rex based only on its bones? There's at least two ways to find the answer, experts found.

How to Weigh a Dinosaur

A new study reveals the proper technique to weigh these extinct creatures

Critics argue that moving the bust does little to address more commonly cited complaints, including the repatriation of looted artifacts and a need to diversify curatorial staff.

British Museum Moves Bust of Founder, Who Profited From Slavery

The London institution, which reopened this week, is reckoning with its colonialist history in the wake of global protests against racism

Since late July, Mei Xiang has been sleeping more, eating less, nest-building and body-licking—all signs that she is preparing for a newborn.

Is There a New Baby Panda Due at the National Zoo?

An ultrasound today revealed that the National Zoo's resident giant panda, Mei Xiang, could be expecting

Guano stains the cliffs of a gannet breeding colony in Shetland

Seabird Poop Is Worth More Than $1 Billion Annually

Scientists put a price tag on guano's global benefits, which range from agricultural fertilizer to coral reef enricher

A clear shard of Roman glass found in northern Jordan. The purple highlights are iridescence caused by weathering.

Ancient Rome's Finest Glass Was Actually Made in Egypt

Researchers used chemical analysis to determine the origins of the empire's crystal-clear glass

Like statues, animals named after controversial historic figures are sparking a conversation about "relics of systemic oppression" in science.

A Bird Named for a Confederate General Sparks Calls for Change

McCown’s longspur has launched a renewed reckoning over the troubling histories reflected in taxonomy

For the first time, an ultra-black skin color or pigmentation that protects 16 varieties of deep-sea fishes has been documented.

Elusive, Ultra-Black Fish Are Cloaked to Survive in the Deep Ocean

Special pigment cells in deep-sea fish may provide clues to cancer treatment and stealthy new materials

A survey of nearly 1,000 environmental education and outdoor science schools that serve primarily K-12 learners shows that 63 percent of such organizations are uncertain whether they will ever open their doors again, if pandemic restrictions last until year’s end.

Will COVID-19 Spell the End of Outdoor and Environmental Education?

The pandemic has been devastating to the field, according to a recent survey

A jackal in Yarkon Park, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Scientists Propose a New Name for Nature in the Time of COVID-19: The 'Anthropause'

Human travel came to a halt during COVID-19, and scientists argue that this worldwide 'pause' presents a rare opportunity to study our impact on animals

A new study has mapped green algae blooms, like the one pictured here, on the Antarctic Peninsula.

Algae Blooms Turn Antarctica’s Ice Green

Scientists predict that the organisms' presence will increase as global temperatures increase

Last October, archaeologists discovered the mud dock where the HMS Beagle was dismantled by using specialized drone photography

The Final Home of Charles Darwin’s HMS Beagle Gets Protected Status

The naturalist famously conducted the research that led to the "Origin of Species" on board the ship

Herbert Spencer introduced the phrase "survival of the fittest" in his 1864 book, Principles of Biology.

The Complicated Legacy of Herbert Spencer, the Man Who Coined 'Survival of the Fittest'

Spencer's ideas laid the groundwork for social Darwinism, but scholars say there was much more to the Victorian Age thinker than that

A new analysis of insect abundance surveys finds the decline may not be as dire as previously thought.

New Study Gives a More Complex Picture of Insect Declines

The researchers gathered data from 166 surveys of insect abundance around the world, mostly conducted since the 1980s

Former First Lady (and bestselling author) Michelle Obama has teamed up with PBS Kids and Penguin Random House for a live story time every Monday at noon.

A Read-Along With Michelle Obama and Other Livestream Learning Opportunities

Schools are shuttered, but kids can dance with New York's Ballet Hispánico and listen to a story from a certain former First Lady

Stream live or watch repeated broadcast overnight.

LIVE NOW: Watch the Smithsonian's Earth Optimism Digital Summit

The two-day virtual event will bring scientists and many other experts to highlight success stories in conservation

The list covers findings in biology, justice and human rights, the environment, and more.

Fifty Things We’ve Learned About the Earth Since the First Earth Day

On April 22, 1970, Americans pledged environmental action for the planet. Here’s what scientists and we, the global community, have done since

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