A big thank you to President Chester Arthur, the only sitting president to donate a specimen to the U.S. National Herbarium.

(Equal thanks to the head of our Botany Department, Laurence J. Dorr, for exploring presidential connections to the U. S. National Herbarium. [ Typepad.com Link ]
Yes, this is from nature—more specifically Maharashtra, India. Mesolite commonly forms as elongated needle-like or prismatic crystals, typically in hairlike or fibrous sprays that are colorless, white, or gray. Each needle in this spray is a single crystal. The crystals grew from a water solution that circulated through cooled volcanic rock. They fanned out to fill a cavity left by a gas...
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Celebrate #WorldWhaleDay by learning about the history of our whale displays.
A 6,000-year-old environmental history of Amazon geoglyph sites reveals new details about human impact on the rainforest.

Long Before Making Enigmatic Earthworks, People Reshaped Brazil’s Rain Forest

nytimes.com
For the natural history lover in your life.

A Valentine for Sci-Art Lovers

smithsonianmag.com
Scientists are studying traditional medicine practices to combat a superbug.

Common weed could help fight deadly superbug, study finds

washingtonpost.com
Lizards can ditch their tails when threatened, but a newly described gecko species has an even more interesting adaptation.

Newly discovered gecko has a quick-release mechanism for escaping predators

washingtonpost.com
By using the fly Chrysomya marginalis’ life cycle, park rangers narrow their search for poachers in South Africa.

How a Corpse-Loving Fly Could Help Catch Rhino Poachers

theatlantic.com
“I think we're on the cusp of revolutionizing the questions we can ask about the natural world.” – Laurence Dorr, Chair of the Department of Botany at NMNH

This is how you photograph a million dead plants without losing your mind

washingtonpost.com
Teachers, bring a Smithsonian scientist into your classroom with the next “Science How” live webcast, “What Tiny Marine Fossils Reveal about Extinction,” February 9 with paleontologist Gene Hunt. The webcast supports standards in Earth Science and Life Science. Learn more and register. [ Qrius.si.edu Link ]
Applications due March 1--don't delay!

anthropology.si.edu

anthropology.si.edu
Our Super Bowl offering: a sealskin ball made by Alaskan Yupik artisan Genevieve Apatiki in 1982. Yupik balls were traditionally small (4-6”) made of seal or caribou leather (hide) stuffed with caribou hair. An Eskimo ball game was a public event, commonly with two teams playing against each other kicking the ball or throwing it up in the air, so that the members of one’s party could keep it...
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“One of my main jobs here is to study biodiversity. This is what collections are all about,” says Rafael Lemaitre, a Smithsonian research zoologist who recently described a new species of hermit crab.

Smithsonian Scientist and a Reef-Diving Grandmother Team Up in Discovery of New Hermit Crab

smithsonianmag.com
Thanks to our scientific collections, Smithsonian zoologist Dave Johnson and colleagues at the Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle made this jaw-dropping discovery.

Open Wide: Deep-Sea Fishes That Are Built to Eat Big

nytimes.com
Parasites, hyperparasites, and hypermanipulator parasites. (Oh My!)

The Parasite That Compels Other Parasites to Shove Their Heads Into Holes

theatlantic.com
After 300 years, Maria Sibylla Merian is getting the credit she deserves.

A Pioneering Woman of Science Re‑Emerges After 300 Years

nytimes.com