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Nudist Colony Opening at Smithsonian's National Zoo!

National Zoo
A new naked-mole rat exhibit opens at the Smithsonian's National Zoo Sept. 1, 2018! Get a sneak peek at the colony with a BRAND NEW WEBCAM launching Aug. 31, 2018. Learn more: https://nationalzoo.si.edu/news/nudist-colony-opening-smithsonians-national-zoo

Nefertiti the Spidernaut 1

Office of Public Affairs
Nefertiti aboard the International Space Station in her experimental habitat. Full story: http://newsdesk.si.edu/releases/world-s-first-spidernaut-lands-smithsonian Video courtesy of BioServe Space Technologies

Kandula, National Zoo, insightful problem solving 2

Office of Public Affairs
Insightful Problem Solving in an Asian Elephant. Kandula, an 8-year old Asian elephant at the Smithsonian's National Zoo, demonstrates insightful problem solving by positioning a large cube under a treat that is too high for him to reach. By standing on the cube he can reach the food. He was not trained to do this and came up with this solution on his own. From the scientific paper "Insightful Problem Solving in an Asian Elephant," published Aug. 18, 2011 in the journal PLoS ONE.

Vine Virtuoso: Smithsonian Scientist Stefan Schnitzer

Office of Public Affairs
Smithsonian Tropical Research Center Botanist Stefan Schnitzer talks about his work studying lianas (woody vines) in the jungles of Panama. These hardy vines compete with trees for water and nutrients and also act as highways for jungle animals moving through the forest canopy.

Coral Conservator: Smithsonian Scientist Mary Hagedorn

Office of Public Affairs
Dr. Mary Hagedorn, a marine biologist at the Smithsonian Institution, talks about her research to understand and conserve our oceans' corals. To meet more scientists, visit http://smithsonianscience.org.

Here come the stink bugs...

Office of Public Affairs
Entomologist Gary Hevel at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., explains the recent invasion of brown marmorated stink bugs (stinkbug) in the U.S. and how to get rid of them.

Squid species Pholidoteuthis adami mating Gulf of Mexico, April 13, 2012

Office of Public Affairs
A pair of mating Pholidoteuthis adami observed by ROV Little Hercules on April 13 2012 at a depth of 1400 m and at 28.65° N, 088.46° W during an expedition by NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer in the northern Gulf of Mexico. The male is upside down, and backwards on top of the female and the terminal organ is extending from his funnel, presumably releasing spermatophores, from which spermatangia burrow into the dorsal mantle tissue of the female. Video courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program http://smithsonianscience.org/2013/01/first-detailed-sex-video-of-deep-sea-squid-penetrates-long-standing-mysteries-as-to-how-these-animals-mate/

Removing Invasive Species from Ballast Water

Office of Public Affairs
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center Marine Biologist George Smith discusses how scientists are trying to prevent invasive species from hitching a ride to new ecosystems aboard ships.

Leopard Lifesaver: Smithsonian Scientist JoGayle Howard

Office of Public Affairs
Dr. JoGayle Howard of the Smithsonian's National Zoo discusses her work to breed and study one of the world's most endangered cats, the clouded leopard. More about the National Zoo's work to save clouded leopards: http://nationalzoo.si.edu/SCBI/ReproductiveScience/ConsEndangeredCats/CloudedLeopards/ http://nationalzoo.si.edu/support/annualappeal/cloudedleopards/

Botanical Biodiversity: Smithsonian Scientist Helene Muller Landau

Office of Public Affairs
What determines the variety of trees in a tropical forest? Is it the seed size? Perhaps seed-hungry animals? And what happens to forests that are being drastically changed by humans? Smithsonian Tropical Research Center Botanist, Helene Muller Landau, talks about her attempt to find answers to these questions.

Mate binding behavior of male orb-web "Nephila pilipes" spider

Office of Public Affairs
This video shows mate-binding behaviour of the male orb-web "Nephila pilipes" spider. To reduce female resistance to mating and the chance of being eaten by the female, the much smaller male spider deposits fine silk onto the female's body in between copulation bouts. In a scientific paper published in Animal Behaviour "Mate binding: male adaptation to sexual conflict in the golden orb-web spider (Nephilidae: Nephila pilipes)" ( http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0003347211003915#MMCvA_1 ) a team of scientists reveal that it is the touch of the male spider that has the most effect in calming the female.

Egyptian mummy CT scan video, Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History

Office of Public Affairs
This 53-second video consists of a series of images taken with a Siemens Somotom CT scanner of a mummy at the Department of Anthropology in the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C. The individual shown here is a male who died at about 40 years of age; a relatively mature age by ancient Egyptian standards. He is believed to have lived in Lower Egypt sometime between the 25-26th Greco-Roman periods, which is between 600 B.C. and about 150 A.D., or roughly between 2,500 and 1,900 years ago. When this mummy was transferred to the Smithsonian from the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia in the late 1950s, it was partially unwrapped, and very little was known about its history or the individual inside. Years later, using 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional CT scans, Natural History Museum anthropologists found that the brain and major organs were removed and rolls of linen filled out the abdominal cavity. This mummification method is evidence of superior embalming, indicating a person of higher status. The CT scanner uses x-rays to produce a series of 2-dimensional image slices which, for this video, were processed and converted into a 3D model. Two different CT filters were used to extract and digitize the physical properties of the mummy—a bone filter to extract images of the mummy's bones and a second filter that imaged the mummy's soft tissues, both inside and out. After the flesh and bone was digitally extracted, the data were imported into a computer program called 3D Studio Max, where virtual cameras were set up, an animation path was assigned and an animated clipping plane was set up to visually "grow" the mummy. This and other CT scan images of human and animal mummies will be featured on a Website accompanying "Eternal Life in Ancient Egypt," a new exhibition opening at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History on Nov. 17, 2011. The exhibition will explore ancient Egyptian life, religious beliefs and examines how the burial practices serve as windows into ancient cultures and reveal how archaeologists and physical anthropologists gain these insights through their research. This video was made possible by Meg Rivers in the Exhibition Department and Dr. Dave Hunt in the Anthropology Department at the Natural History Museum and Adam Metallo and Vincent Rossi of the Smithsonian's Digitization Program Office.

Darwin's bark spider "Caerostris darwini"

Office of Public Affairs
Filmed in Madagascar by Matjaz Gregoric, this video shows a Darwin's bark spider subduing a dragonfly on her web. Females of this newly named (2010) species, "Caerostris darwini," cast giant webs across streams, rivers and lakes, suspending the web's orb above water and attaching it to plants on each riverbank. Bridgelines of these water-spanning webs have been measured as long as 25 meters. Studies of the silk of these spiders by Matjaz Kuntner and Ingi Agnarsson, research collaborators of the Smithsonian Institution, and University of Akron collaborator Todd Blackledge, have revealed it is among the toughest of all known spider silks.

Kandula, National Zoo, insightful problem solving

Office of Public Affairs
Insightful Problem Solving in an Asian Elephant. Kandula, an 8-year old Asian elephant at the Smithsonian's National Zoo, demonstrates insightful problem solving by positioning a tractor tire under a treat that is too high for him to reach. By standing on the tire he can reach the food. From the scientific paper "Insightful Problem Thinking in an Asian Elephant," published Aug. 18, 2011 in the journal PLoS ONE.

Bat accepting frog

Office of Public Affairs
A series of experiments conducted by scientists at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama have revealed that frog-eating fringe-lipped bats (Trachops cirrhosus) are, by necessity, much more discerning diners than previously known. In fact, scientists now know, from the time they begin their attack dive to just before they swallow a frog, the bats are continually evaluating their prey through such sensory modalities as sound, echolocation, touch and taste. A paper on the work is published online in the Springer journal Naturwissenschaften (The Science of Nature). Reference: Page RA, Schnelle T, Kalko EKV, Bunge T, Bernal XE (2012). Sequential assessment of prey through the use of multiple sensory cues by an eavesdropping bat. Naturwissenschaften - The Science of Nature; DOI 10.1007/s00114-012-0920-6.

Ladder-walking locust experiment

Office of Public Affairs
A paper by Jeremy Niven and colleagues in the Jan. 12, 2010 issue of Current Biology provides evidence that locusts use vision to guide the placement of their front and middle legs when crossing gaps in uneven terrain. This video shows that, when a desert locust walks along a horizontal ladder, it makes directed movements to specific rungs in the absence of any previous contact with that rung. The video reveals a role for visual information in the placement of their front legs. For more information see http://smithsonianscience.org/2010/01/for-first-time-scientists-prove-locusts-use-vision-to-place-their-legs-when-walking/ (Video courtesy Dr. Jeremy Niven, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama.)

Nefertiti the Spidernaut 2

Office of Public Affairs
Nefertiti aboard the International Space Station in her experimental habitat. Full story: http://newsdesk.si.edu/releases/world-s-first-spidernaut-lands-smithsonian Video courtesy of BioServe Space Technologies

Giant spider web: Darwin's bark spider ("Caerostris darwini")

Office of Public Affairs
Filmed in Madagascar by entomologists Matjaz Kuntner and Ingi Agnarsson, this video shows a Darwin's bark spider subduing a dragonfly tossed into its web. Females of this newly named (2010) species, "Caerostris darwini," cast giant webs across streams, rivers and lakes, suspending the web's orb above water and attaching it to plants on each riverbank. Bridgelines of these water-spanning webs have been measured as long as 25 meters in length. Studies of the silk of these spiders by Kuntner and Agnarsson have revealed it is among the strongest of all known spider silks.

3D scan of a Clovis stone projectile point

Office of Public Affairs
This video was created by Dr. Sabrina Sholts of the Human Evolution Research Center at the University of California in Berkeley using 3D digital scans of a Clovis stone projectile point from the collections of the Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. Scans of Clovis stone points from the Smithsonian were the subject of the scientific paper "Flake scar patterns of Clovis points analyzed with a new digital morphometrics approach: Evidence for direct transmissions of technological knowledge across early North America," in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science, May 2012.

Bat rejecting frog

Office of Public Affairs
A series of experiments conducted by scientists at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama have revealed that frog-eating fringe-lipped bats (Trachops cirrhosus) are, by necessity, much more discerning diners than previously known. In fact, scientists now know, from the time they begin their attack dive to just before they swallow a frog, the bats are continually evaluating their prey through such sensory modalities as sound, echolocation, touch and taste. A paper on the work is published online in the Springer journal Naturwissenschaften (The Science of Nature). Reference: Page RA, Schnelle T, Kalko EKV, Bunge T, Bernal XE (2012). Sequential assessment of prey through the use of multiple sensory cues by an eavesdropping bat. Naturwissenschaften - The Science of Nature; DOI 10.1007/s00114-012-0920-6.

White dwarf stars orbiting and merging animation

Office of Public Affairs
Astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have found a pair of white dwarf stars orbiting each other once every 39 minutes. In a few million years, they will merge and reignite as a helium-burning star. This animation shows the merger process. Credit: Clay Ellis (CfA)

Moon Man: Smithsonian Scientist Tom Watters

Office of Public Affairs
Dr. Thomas R. Watters of the Center for Earth and Planetary Studies at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum talks about his research in astronomy, particularly our moon. More about space science at http://www.nasm.si.edu

bumblebee-vertical-lift.mov

Office of Public Affairs
This slow-motion video shows a bumblebee lifting a string of weights in the Animal Flight Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley. The left side of the screen shows the testing chamber from above, looking down upon the experiment. The right side is a lateral view of the chamber as seen in a mirror set at a 45-degree angle. The mirror allows scientists to see how high the bee is flying. Slowing down the audio recording of this experiment enables researchers to calculate the wingbeat frequency of a bee during periods of maximum vertical lift. (Video courtesy Robert Buchwald, University of California, Berkeley)

Invasive Investigator: Smithsonian Scientist Jefferson Hall

Office of Public Affairs
Invasive plant species are threatening native species across the globe. Learn how scientists at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Center in Panama are trying to fight one species of grass in Panama that is wreaking havoc on the country's tropical biodiversity.
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