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The Q? Blog

Smithsonian Science How?

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...

Museum mount of the last Passenger Pigeon, Martha, that died in 1914. Image 5.00467 by Carl Hansen, Smithsonian
by Devin Reese -- Nov 17, 2014

Pigeons today are so common that you’d think they are indestructible. Think again. The pigeon you find practically all over the world today is the...

Large hippo-like mammal forerunner ("Placerias") that lived, and died off, during the Triassic. National Park Service Image.
by Devin Reese -- Sep 15, 2015

The Jurassic witnessed a world populated by dinosaurs -- giant plant-eaters munching their way through ferns and conifer forests, while large...

Ski boots worn by the Arctic Sami people of northern Norway. Smithsonian E398453-0, photo by Don Hurlbert.
by Devin Reese -- Oct 19, 2015

It’s hard to believe that people have been living in the Arctic for 40,000 years. How can people survive in such a harsh environment, and what...

This meteorite piece from an ancient asteroid contains valuable crystals and metals. Smithsonian image 6474.
by Devin Reese -- Jun 9, 2015

Meteorites may conjure images of giant rocks smashing into towns. In fact, meteorites rarely hit people and regularly bring valuable materials to...

You may be parked next to your ancestors’ trash, such as these layers of oyster shells discarded by humans living in the Chesapeake Bay hundreds to thousands of years ago. Photo from Smithsonian Institution.
by Devin Reese -- Oct 14, 2014

Did Native Americans and other people who lived thousands of years ago influence the biodiversity...

Colorful shells of forams on a coral reef. Image by Pamela Hallock, University of South Florida
by Devin Reese -- Jan 21, 2015

If you haven’t seen foraminifera yet, no need to feel left out. Most people haven’t seen a...

Ash-grey Indian paintbrush plant in Southern California. Image by Gary A. Monroe, EOL via CalPhotos, CC-BY-NC.
by Devin Reese -- Jan 8, 2015

They are silent and stationary, but scientists look to them to tell stories about what happened in the past. Because plants are all around us, and...

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