ICYMI: What many paleontologists have been discussing this week.

Dinosaur family tree poised for colossal shake-up

nature.com
Yes, you should celebrate #GesnerDay tomorrow by tuning in to this tour!
Let’s take a moment and celebrate the fact that ten years ago, the world was introduced to the pigbutt worm (Chaetopterus pugaporcinus). This polychaete worm lives about 3,300 feet below the ocean’s surface and was first found in Monterey Bay, California. It feeds off “marine snow”—bits of dead organisms and fecal matter. One of our researchers, Karen Osborn, and her colleagues at Monterey Bay...
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The Million Dollar Duck is a documentary that focuses on the strange and wonderful world of the Federal Duck Stamp Contest, the only juried, art competition run by the U.S. government. This film explores the eccentric nature of the contestants who enter each year for a chance at wildlife art stardom, while also reflecting upon the history and challenges facing the continued existence of this...
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The Million Dollar Duck

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Introductions by Nancy Knowlton, Sant Chair for Marine Science, National Museum of Natural History

12:30-2:20 p.m. - Island and the Whales *Wildscreen Winner
This stunningly photographed film focuses on the people of the North Sea's remote Faroe Islands who have survived for centuries on the ocean's bounty. Most of their food, including native birds and whale meat, still comes directly from...
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Ocean Life & Ecosystems Film Screenings

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Sacred Cod is a feature-length documentary that captures the collapse of the historic cod population in New England, delving into the role of overfishing, the impact of climate change, the effect of government policies on fishermen and the fish, and the prospect of a region built on cod having no cod left to fish. Followed by a Q & A discussion with the director David Abel, the filmmaker Steve...
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Sacred Cod

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12:00-2:00 p.m. - Conquest of the Skies *JHWFF Winner (Family-friendly film)
The power of flight is one of nature’s greatest achievements. From its humble beginnings, over one hundred billion creatures soar through the sky today, from tiny, nectar-drinking hummingbirds to armoured airborne beetles, bizarre winged lizards and sonar-guided bats hunting in the dead of night. Followed by a Q & A...
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Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival Selects

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Part of the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital, "In Pursuit of Silence" is a meditative exploration of our relationship with silence, sound and the impact of noise on our lives. Beginning with an ode to John Cage’s ground-breaking composition 4'33", In Pursuit of Silence takes us on an immersive cinematic journey around the globe -- from a traditional tea ceremony in Kyoto, to...
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In Pursuit of Silence (DC Premiere)

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Meet one of our rock stars, geologist Elizabeth Cottrell.

Smithsonian geologist digs up clues to Earth’s beginnings

washingtonpost.com
Our contribution to March Madness: a basket star (Astrocladus euryale), collected in 1841, by the U.S. Exploring Expedition.

Basket stars are usually found in the deep ocean, this one was collected in the waters off of South Africa and is now on view in #ObjectsofWonder.

See the comments below to watch a NOAA video of a living basket star.
Our doors will open to the public at noon today, 3/14.
Only a small fraction of our collections are on display at any time. The rest are “squirreled” away for safekeeping and future scientific research, like this squirrel ancestor, Douglassciurus jeffersoni.

This creature lived 38-34 million years ago in Wyoming and yes, it’s posed with a fossil walnut. (The fossil snack is also from the Eocene, but was found in a different location: Oregon.)...
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Animal, vegetable, or mineral?
Though it looks like an enormous honeycomb, this specimen wasn’t made by bees or any animal. In fact, it was never alive.

This mineral structure is the remains of a naturally-forming rock called a septarian concretion.

What’s it made of? Water seeped through cracks in the concretion, depositing silica in the form of quartz. The quartz crystals formed walls...
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Arctic coralline algae, like the 900+yr old specimen in our new exhibit #ObjectsofWonder, are data mines for climate change research.

In Its Layers, This Stunning Pink Coralline Algae Holds Secrets of Climates Past

smithsonianmag.com
Now on view through 2019: #ObjectsofWonder. Come see more than 1,000 rarely exhibited specimens and artifacts from our collections. [ Naturalhistory.si.edu Link ]
Starting tomorrow, you can see #ObjectsofWonder in person! (We'll have a livestream later today, around 12:30pm ET, with the curators. Tune in!)

A new exhibit offers a peek into the Smithsonian vaults

washingtonpost.com
An epic life, soon on view in #ObjectsofWonder—opening Friday! Before you visit Robert Kennicott’s skeletal remains, read about his incredible backstory.

Two Smithsonian Scientists Retrace the Mysterious Circumstances of an 1866 Death and Change History

smithsonianmag.com