Front view of a trap-jaw spider head (family Mecysmaucheniidae) showing pinching mouthparts that snap shut to capture prey the same size or even larger than itself. Photo by Hannah Wood, Smithsonian.
Front view of a trap-jaw spider head (family Mecysmaucheniidae) showing pinching mouthparts that snap shut to capture prey the same size or even larger than itself. Photo by Hannah Wood, Smithsonian.

Latest Posts

How I Learned to Barcode Lizards during My Internship

This summer, I was a Youth Engagement through Science (YES!) 2.0 Global Genome intern at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. The internship began with a two-week "bootcamp," during which we sequenced the DNA of the Iva annua plant (commonly known as the marshelder) in order to figure out what genes were involved in the plant’s domestication....Read more
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YES! Global Genome intern Camile gained experience working in a lab and learned how to DNA barcode lizards. Smithsonian photo.

How Ants Helped Me Feel Comfortable in the Genomics Lab

Before I actually got the chance to work in the lab as a YES! Global Genome intern, I was given a formal lab tour. Being the only 17-year-old African-American girl in a room full of sequencing technology worth more than $1 million was, to say the very least, intimidating....Read more
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YES! Global Genome intern Sal concentrates while using a pipette in the Smithsonian Laboratories of Analytical Biology. Smithsonian photo.

Antarctic Meteorites that Hail from Mars

Who would think that a rock found in remote, freezing Antarctica, could be useful for studying Mars? In fact, teams of geologists congregate in Antarctica to find meteorites, some of which originated on Mars. Although meteorites fall all over the Earth, the cold, dry conditions of the South Pole are ideal for preserving them....Read more
Scientists finding a meteorite in Antarctica. Photo by Katherine Joy, University of Manchester, Antarctic Search for Meteorites Program.

Why Do We Collect Parasites?

Who would keep a collection of parasites? Believe it or not, the United States government has been collecting parasites for a hundred years. The collection, recently acquired by the Smithsonian, now numbers more than 20 million parasites. We keep parasites because they are a priority for research related to our well-being....Read more
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Pickled parasites in the vast collections of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which are now managed by the Smithsonian.

Stumbling Upon a New Species of Giant, Woolly Rat

How would you feel if you encountered a rat almost three feet long? Smithsonian’s Dr. Kristofer Helgen was overjoyed. The rat was discovered by Kris and other members of a BBC expedition team in a remote volcano in Papua New Guinea. They named it the Bosavi woolly rat, after its thick fur and its home on Mount Bosavi....Read more
Tags: mammal, DNA, species
The Giant Woolly rat was discovered in 2009 in a Papua New Guinea forest. Photo by Kris Helgen, Smithsonian.

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