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The Q? Blog

Smithsonian Science How?

Ghost-like octopod of an unknown species discovered on the seafloor of the Pacific Ocean more than 4,000 meters down during a research cruise. Photo from NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Hohonu Moana 2016.
by Devin Reese -- May 31, 2017

Most familiar “octopods” (general term for octopuses and their close relatives)...

Pickled parasites in the vast collections of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which are now managed by the Smithsonian.
by Devin Reese -- May 3, 2016

Who would keep a collection of parasites? Believe it or not, the United States government has been collecting parasites for a hundred years. The...

Skeleton parts from the Smithsonian's physical anthropology collection. Smithsonian photo by Jennifer Renteria.
by Devin Reese -- Jan 12, 2016

Did you know that you look the way you do because of the environment you grew up in? Of course, the genes you inherited from your parents play a...

 Tiny fossil jaw of a rhynchosaur (reptile) from the Late Jurassic that lived alongside dinosaurs in Wyoming. Photo by Matthew Carrano, Smithsonian.
by Devin Reese -- Feb 17, 2016

A fossil the size of our pinky nail is not typically what we hope to see when we come to a natural history museum to learn about dinosaurs. But,...

The Giant Woolly rat was discovered in 2009 in a Papua New Guinea forest. Photo by Kris Helgen, Smithsonian.
by Devin Reese -- Apr 14, 2016

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...

This scanning electron microscope image shows fungi making bead-like minerals (elemental selenium). Image from Carla Rosenfeld, Smithsonian.
by Devin Reese -- Feb 26, 2015

A microbe is a tiny organism, microscopic in size. We often think of microbes as menaces, such as pathogenic bacteria or fungi that cause disease...

Have you seen your cell phone lately? Photo by Devin Reese, Smithsonian.
by Devin Reese -- May 19, 2015

If you feel anxious when you don't have your phone nearby, you are not alone. With some 6 billion...

Egyptian mummy and its X-ray at the National Museum of Natural History. Smithsonian image by Chip Clark.
by Devin Reese -- Apr 27, 2015

The most familiar mummies are the Egyptians, buried in elaborate...

Blue beryl that crystallized as a 6-sided hexagonal crystal, not bus-sized but beautiful. Photo by Chip Clark, Smithsonian.
by Devin Reese -- Apr 1, 2015

In South Dakota miners found a crystal of a mineral called spodumene that was 42 feet long and weighed 90 tons. While it's an extreme example, the...

Late Cretaceous scene. Depiction by Mary Parrish, Smithsonian.
by Devin Reese -- Sep 10, 2014

We’ve all fantasized about living in a world where dinosaurs roam the Earth, a place like Jurassic Park, rife with the perils and excitement of...