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smithsoniannmnh

Smithsonian's NMNH

Understanding the natural world and our place in it. Commenting policy: si.edu/termsofuse. Follow us on Twitter @NMNH
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smithsoniannmnh - Smithsonian's NMNH
Our collections reflect Earth's amazing biodiversity. For all you insect-lovers, this purple grasshopper (Titanacris sp.) and blue morpho butterfly (Morpho sp.) reside in our Entomology Department's aptly named "Oh My!" cabinet.
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smithsoniannmnh - Smithsonian's NMNH
There are two different minerals that have similar physical properties and are commonly referred to as jade: jadeite and nephrite. This carving is made from nephrite. Nephrite ranges from creamy white to green to almost black in color. Nephrite crystals typically are fibrous and are interwoven to produce a tough rock which serves as an excellent material for carving. From as early as 1000 BC the Chinese were making weapons and ornaments from a green stone they called yu, now known in the West as nephrite. Jadeite was not known in China until it was imported from Myanmar in the 18th century. myanmar is still the most important source for fine jadeite. Nephrite is more common than jadeite and the major sources are Russia, New Zealand, Taiwan, and British Columbia. (Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Milton Turner in 1980. Catalog Number NMNH G8590-90)
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smithsoniannmnh - Smithsonian's NMNH
This unassuming octocoral collected over 55 years ago is actually a new genus and species. By examining its structure and conducting DNA analysis Smithsonian scientists Stephen Cairns and Herman Wirshing realized it was a new species. They named it Sclerophyton bajaensis, in honor of Baja California, where it was originally collected. #taxonomytuesday
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curiosity.lady : It's amazing what can be found waiting in the collections
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smithsoniannmnh - Smithsonian's NMNH
Torben Rick, @smithsoniannmnh anthropologist and lead author of a research paper out today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, examines a 1,500-year-old oyster shell in the museum’s collection. Oysters are keystone organisms in estuaries around the world, influencing water quality, constructing habitat and providing food for humans and wildlife. Yet their populations in the Chesapeake Bay and elsewhere have dramatically declined after more than a century of overfishing, pollution, disease and habitat degradation. Smithsonian scientists and colleagues, however, have conducted the first bay-wide, millennial-scale study of oyster harvesting in the Chesapeake, revealing a sustainable model for future oyster restoration. They found that while oyster size fluctuated at certain points through time, it has generally decreased over time and the average size of modern oysters is significantly smaller than oysters from the 1800s and earlier. “Our work demonstrates the importance of working across disciplines and using the past to help us understand and transcend modern environmental issues,” said Torben Rick, an anthropologist at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and lead author of the research. “In this case, paleontology, archaeology, history and marine ecology all provided unique perspectives on the difficult puzzle of restoring Chesapeake oysters. Ultimately, they issue a challenge for us to make important and difficult decisions about how to restore and sustain our marine ecosystems and organisms.”
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smithsoniannmnh - Smithsonian's NMNH
An example of the beautiful fossils found at the Colwell Creek Pond site, in Texas. The rock there formed from sediments that settled in the bottom of a lake around 275 million years ago, during the Permian. This specimen is Compsopteris, a pteridosperm, or seed fern, which is an extinct plant type that was common during the Permian Period.
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smithsoniannmnh - Smithsonian's NMNH
Join us at 11AM and 2PM EDT for a live webcast "Living Together: Parasites and Hosts" with Smithsonian parasitologist Anna Phillips. Click the link in our bio.
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smithsoniannmnh - Smithsonian's NMNH
Elysia chlorotica is a “solar-powered” marine sea slug that sequesters and retains photosynthetically active chloroplasts from the algae it eats and, remarkably, has incorporated algal genes into its own genetic code. It is emerald green in color often with small red or white markings, has a slender shape typical of members of its genus, and parapodia (lateral "wings") that fold over its body in life. This sea slug is unique among animals to possess photosynthesis-specific genes and is an extraordinary example of symbiosis between an alga and mollusc as well as a genetic chimera of these two organisms. #TaxonomyTuesday #EOLSpeciesoftheWeek
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smithsoniannmnh - Smithsonian's NMNH
The plaque mount of Ceratosaurus nasicornis. First unveiled to the public in 1910, it was originally enclosed in a glass case. The plaque was incorporated into a false wall during an exhibit renovation in 1963. Later, the skull of the mount was replaced with a replica so that fossil preparators could separate the articulated jaws from the cranium, facilitating scientific study of the specimen.
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smithsoniannmnh - Smithsonian's NMNH
Scientists recently used these specimens from our herbarium to measure how protein in pollen has been affected by rising atmospheric CO2 levels. Read more about it in Yale Environment 360.
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smithsoniannmnh - Smithsonian's NMNH
Taxidermists preparing a hippopotamus for exhibition in the 1930s. #TaxidermyTuesday Photo from the Smithsonian Institution Archives.
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