Latest Posts

Teens Explore Forensic Anthropology in 'Mystery at Yorktown Creek'

Erosion along a creek bed in Yorktown, Va., exposed something startling: a human skeleton! Scientists excavated the bones to prevent them from being washed away and destroyed, then brought them to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History to be analyzed by our forensic anthropologists. Who was this person, when did he or she live, and what can we learn about his or her life?...Read more
Q?rius volunteer Victor Guerrero shows students a human jawbone during the "Forensic Mysteries: Mystery at Yorktown Creek" school program. Photo by Jennifer Renteria, Smithsonian.

Celebrate Pollinators, the Real Party Animals

No celebration would be as festive or delicious without the contributions of pollinators and the plants they pollinate. The importance of the nectaring visits made by bees, butterflies, beetles, bats, birds, flies, and other small animals as they go from flower to flower, carrying and dispersing pollen, is evident in one-third of our daily diets....Read more
Bees and other pollinators are the focus of National Pollinator Week, June 15-21, 2015. Photo by Rosa Pineda, Smithsonian Institution.

Meteorites Bring News from Outer Space

Meteorites may conjure images of giant rocks smashing into towns. In fact, meteorites rarely hit people and regularly bring valuable materials to Earth from outer space. All of the iron we use on Earth today was delivered by meteorites. Gold and platinum even have meteorite origins....Read more
This meteorite piece from an ancient asteroid contains valuable crystals and metals. Smithsonian image 6474.

Do You Suffer from Cellphone Separation Anxiety?

If you feel anxious when you don't have your phone nearby, you are not alone. With some 6 billion cellphones in circulation on Earth, we depend on them for a huge range of services: texting friends, sharing selfies, ordering food, getting news, watching movies, accessing clouds, etc....Read more
Tags: mineral
Have you seen your cell phone lately? Photo by Devin Reese, Smithsonian.

How Mummies are Made

The most familiar mummies are the Egyptians, buried in elaborate tombs and surrounded with treasures to escort them into the afterlife. But, not all mummies were Egyptian, or even of the ruling class. Mummies have been found around the world, in circumstances ranging from honored leaders to unfortunate victims....Read more
Egyptian mummy and its X-ray at the National Museum of Natural History. Smithsonian image by Chip Clark.

A Crystal the Size of a School Bus?!

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 massive crystal showcased one of the incredible qualities of the rock in which it was found, known as "pegmatite." Unlike most rocks, pegmatites contain unusually large crystals of a wide variety of minerals....Read more
Tags: geology
Blue beryl that crystallized as a 6-sided hexagonal crystal, not bus-sized but beautiful. Photo by Chip Clark, Smithsonian.

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