Theories and Discovery

The coastline of Quadra Island in British Columbia. Some scientists believe that prehistoric humans spent thousands of years in the region.

The Story of How Humans Came to the Americas Is Constantly Evolving

Surprising new clues point to the arrival taking place thousands of years earlier than previously believed

New Research

Was Alexander the Great Pronounced Dead Prematurely?

A new theory suggests he was only paralyzed when he was declared dead, but it's impossible to prove he had Guillain-Barré Syndrome with the existing facts

"Battle of Mont Saint-Jean or the Battle of Waterloo" by Antoine Charles Horace Vernet (1758 - 1836) and Jacques François Swebach (1769-1823)

Can Napoleon’s Defeat at Waterloo Be Traced to a Volcanic Eruption in Indonesia?

A new study posits that an 1815 eruption caused inclement weather that, according to some theories, led to Napoleon's defeat

A "fossil" that was baked in a lab in about 24 hours.

Scientists Baked a "Fossil" in 24 Hours

The simulation could help researchers gain new insight into the fossilization process—without having to wait 10,000 years

An African grey parrot, probably thinking intelligent thoughts.

Unique Brain Circuitry Might Explain Why Parrots Are So Smart

Their bird brains are not bird-brained

Archangel Gabriel

Is This Painted Tile Da Vinci’s Earliest Known Work?

Two Italian scholars believe the tile was painted by the Renaissance master in 1471, but other experts are not convinced

Apollo 15 Lunar Module Pilot James Irwin salutes the U.S. flag. This photograph was taken by Astronaut David R. Scott, Apollo 15 commander.

Astronauts' Footprints May Have Warmed the Moon

"Lost" data from the 1970s helped scientists solve an enduring lunar mystery

Aplysia californica crawls about in a tide pool in Abalone Cove Shoreline Park, California.

Scientists Say They Have Transferred ‘Memories’ Between Snails

A controversial new study suggests that RNA may play an important role in memory storage

Skeletal remains showing evidence of leprosy from the Odense St. Jørgen cemetery in Denmark, which was established in 1270 and existed until 1560.

Did Leprosy Originate in Europe?

A new study suggests the disease was far more diverse in Europe than previously believed

Shipwrecks discovered off the coast of Western Australia.

Two 19th-Century Shipwrecks Discovered During Search for Flight MH370

The Western Australian Museum has put forth several suggestions for the identities of the sunken vessels

Expressive Eyebrows May Have Given Modern Humans an Evolutionary Edge

A new study explores why ancient humans had pronounced brow ridges, and why they eventually lost them

Did a falling apple really influence Newtonian physics?

Sometimes, a Scientific “Eureka!” Moment Really Does Change the World

Your plastic credit card, microwaveable popcorn and erection enhancers all owe to a fortuitous moment of connection

A Sickly Paleolithic Pupper Only Survived Because of Human Help

The canine wouldn't have been a good hunter, hinting early humans may have loved their pets for more than athleticism

Ask Smithsonian

Is the Fall Equinox the Secret to the Pyramids' Near-Perfect Alignment?

One engineer says yes

The Oldest Known Butterflies Existed Before Flowers

A new study raises intriguing questions about the evolutionary trajectory of butterflies and moths

Smithsonian Curator Weighs In on Photo That Allegedly Shows Amelia Earhart in Japanese Captivity

A History Channel special claims that a National Archives photo shows the pilot sitting on a dock in the Pacific, but experts are skeptical

The image shows a 6 mm long, 12.5 day old mouse embryo obtained with the Mesolens. The inset shows a blow-up of the eye region revealing the individual cell nuclei. It is possible to identify fine structures throughout the embryo such as the developing heart muscle fibers and fine details in the eye such as the corneal endothelium using the Mesolens.

Think Big

Let Us Now Praise the Invention of the Microscope

Early scientists wielded this revolutionary tool to study the invisible world of microbes, and even their own semen

Did Neanderthals Die Out Because of the Paleo Diet?

A new theory links their fate to a meat-heavy regimen

Paradoxically, food aid can cause game like the black curassow to be overhunted.

What's the Best Way to Help the Amazon's Indigenous People?

Can a pioneering computer model save the rainforest's residents from our best intentions?

Astrophysicist Kip Thorne dared to dream of a machine to find gravitational waves.

Think Big

The Detection of Gravitational Waves Was a Scientific Breakthrough, but What’s Next?

Scientists are sitting on top of the world after this monumental discovery and are eager to keep exploring the universe

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