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Fossil Dog Instagram Takeover

On August 18, 2015, paleontologist Jack Tseng had a ‘takeover’ of the American Museum of Natural History’s Instagram account. Seven photographs gave the Museum’s social media followers a visual trip behind the scenes into the renowned fossil dog collections, accompanied by captions from one of world’s leading fossil…

How We Work Togther: A Symbiosis Explainer How We Work Togther: A Symbiosis Explainer

In the latest episode of the web series Shelf Life, we learned about the surprising symbiotic relationship between spotted salamanders and algae.

Reptile Fossil Solves Mystery of How Snakes Lost Their Legs Reptile Fossil Solves Mystery of How Snakes Lost Their Legs

New work on a 90-million-year old reptile fossil is helping scientists determine how snakes lost their limbs. The research, conducted by Mark Norell, the Macaulay Curator and chair in the Museum’s Division of Paleontology, and Hongyu Yi, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of GeoSciences, indicates that snakes…

How Microbes Make Fermented Food How Microbes Make Fermented Food

Just like any form of life, microbes need energy. To get it, they consume molecules they come into contact with for sustenance. No metabolism is perfect, though, and even the smallest meals produce waste products, a process known as fermentation. A microbe’s trash can be a treasure to us, though—these waste molecules…

Six Impressive Creature Commuters Six Impressive Creature Commuters

All animals move at some point in their lives. And for most organisms—other than plants—this task takes more energy than anything else they do. Creatures that waste energy are very likely doomed, so it’s no surprise that evolution has produced some amazing ways of getting around efficiently—sometimes from one side of…

First-Ever Photos of the Elusive Moustached Kingfisher First-Ever Photos of the Elusive Moustached Kingfisher

Feast your eyes on the first photographs ever taken of the male moustached kingfisher, a “ghost species” that has eluded scientists since the 1920’s.

6 Exquisite Structures Built By Wasps 6 Exquisite Structures Built By Wasps

In the latest episode of Shelf Life, we introduced you to Alfred Kinsey’s amazing collection of gall wasp specimens, which are housed at the Museum. Gall wasps make their first homes in their namesake “galls,” growths on trees and other plants where mother gall wasps lay their eggs and new gall wasps gestate.

Celebrate National Dog Day with 30 Million Years of Dogs Celebrate National Dog Day with 30 Million Years of Dogs

On a day designated for celebrating canine companions, go behind the scenes at the American Museum of Natural History into the fossil dog collection—the largest of its kind in the world. Find dire wolves, bear-sized dogs, and more. These images and captions come to us from Jack Tseng, a National Science Foundation…

Dogs Evolved with Climate Change Dogs Evolved with Climate Change

New research heavily based on the Museum’s fossil dog collection—the largest of its kind in the world—shows how dogs evolved in response to a cooling, drying climate in North America over the last 40 million years.

Astronomers Discover “Young Jupiter” Exoplanet Astronomers Discover “Young Jupiter” Exoplanet

An international research team has discovered a Jupiter-like planet 100 light-years away that could help astronomers understand how planets formed in our solar system. Called 51 Eridani b, it is the first planet detected by the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI), a new instrument that started running last year on the Gemini…

Deceptive Woodpecker Uses Mimicry to Avoid Competition Deceptive Woodpecker Uses Mimicry to Avoid Competition

Birds of a feather may flock together, but that doesn’t mean they necessarily share close genetic ties. Taxonomists first classified birds into groups primarily based on appearance, relying heavily on the coloration of feathers to determine relationships among species. But research led by Museum Curatorial Associate…

Your Summer Reading List: Science Edition Your Summer Reading List: Science Edition

Heading to the beach this month? So are some of the American Museum of Natural History’s graduate students, who are studying for their Ph.D.s in comparative biology at the Museum’s Richard Gilder Graduate School. As they get ready to head out on their vacations, three students recently shared their favorite science…

How the Smilodon Got Its Teeth How the Smilodon Got Its Teeth

New research shows that the fearsome teeth of the saber-toothed cat Smilodon fatalis grew at a rate about double that of their living relatives, but still took years to fully emerge. The findings, published today in the journal PLOS ONE and based on a new technique that combines isotopic analysis and x-ray imaging,…

Close Up on the Fearsome Jaws of Camel Spiders Close Up on the Fearsome Jaws of Camel Spiders

Researchers from the American Museum of Natural History, the National Museum of Namibia, and Texas A&M University have created a visual atlas and dictionary of terms for the many strange features that adorn the fearsome-looking jaws of a little known group of arachnids. Called camel spiders, baardskeerders…

The Talented Mimic Octopus The Talented Mimic Octopus

The latest episode of Shelf Life traces the travels of the Museum’s specimen of one of the most iconic animals in the world’s oceans, the giant squid. But incredible as these huge creatures are, they’re just one of an amazing class of invertebrates known as cephalopods. The Museum is teaming with Science Friday for …

Flies in Amber Were Ancient Pollinators Flies in Amber Were Ancient Pollinators

In spring or summer, you can look down almost any street and see flowers blooming, on plants from dandelions to cherry trees. Flowering plants, or angiosperms, are some of the most successful and diverse forms of life on Earth. Researchers have long attributed that success, in part, to the alliances these plants have…

Macaw Skeletons Offer Clues to Pueblo Society Macaw Skeletons Offer Clues to Pueblo Society

New work that more precisely dates the skeletal remains of scarlet macaws found in an ancient Pueblo settlement suggests that complex social and political structures may have emerged in the American Southwest at least 150 years earlier than previously thought.

Renowned Paleontologist’s Library Returns to Museum Renowned Paleontologist’s Library Returns to Museum

For decades, paleontologist Malcolm McKenna was a fixture at the American Museum of Natural History, where he served as the Frick Curator of Fossil Mammals. A giant in his field, Dr. McKenna, who passed away in 2008, penned hundreds of scientific papers and the book Classification of Mammals Above the Species Level,…

A Look at the Extremely Rare—and Extremely Small—Pocket Shark A Look at the Extremely Rare—and Extremely Small—Pocket Shark

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) researchers were trawling in the Gulf of Mexico for a sperm whale feeding study in 2010 when they inadvertently pulled up a tiny, odd-looking shark with a bulbous head and rows of sharp teeth. NOAA researchers subsequently identified the creature as the rare…

Meet the Museum's Language Detectives Meet the Museum's Language Detectives

What does it take to solve a mystery about an ancient Native American language group? 16th-century missionary texts, DNA sequencing methods, and lots of algorithms.

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