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The Q? Blog

Smithsonian Science How?

A robber fly, Microstylum morosu, with the facial bristles, or mytax (“moustache” in Greek), visible.  Photo by Eric Isley via iNaturalist, CC-BY-NC.
by Devin Reese -- Mar 16, 2017

What animal has been witnessed snatching a bee from mid-air, stabbing it with a sharp tool, and sucking out its insides? An assassin fly is the...

Keeled Ramshorn snail (Planorbis carinatus) that lives in rivers and lakes in Europe. Photo by Gerhard Falkner.
by Devin Reese -- Apr 26, 2017

Both kayakers and river snails are animals who rely on freshwater. While for a kayaker, it’s for recreation, for a snail it’s about livelihood....

Alberto Javier Reyes García, biologist at the National Herbarium in Mexico (MEXU), collecting plants in the Zapotec community of La Ventosa, Oaxaca, Mexico as part of Smithsonian-led research. Photo by Gibrán Morales Carranza.
by Devin Reese -- May 10, 2017

Every sentence we speak reveals something about...

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...


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