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Celebrating the History Behind Cinco de Mayo


Portrait of Benito Juarez, President of Mexico, in 1865 (courtesy of the Smithsonian’s National Anthropological Archives).

New technique may help authorities quickly sort real and fake ivory products


Although not 100 percent accurate, a new X-ray technique to discern between real and fake ivory products may allow authorities to more quickly identify which products need to undergo more rigorous testing.

Rad rides mom and dad used to cruise memory lane at top speed


A few of the iconic mountain bikes and skateboards from the collection of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History on exhibit in the museum.

Earth Optimism: Elephants

Asian elephants are critically endangered and their habitat in the wild is rapidly disappearing, but Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute scientists are working to make sure they do not go extinct.

The Argument for Environmental Optimism: Opinion by Smithsonian Secretary David J. Skorton


Is it foolish to be optimistic about our environment and its future prospects? Every day, we hear dire warnings about the health of the planet and its inhabitants.

Saving the Panamanian Golden Frog


  Female Panamanian golden frog (Atelopus zeteki). Photo: Brian Gratwicke/Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute   The Panamanian golden frog is critically endangered and may be functionally extinct in the wild.

Smithsonian’s “Agua Salud” Project restores degraded land with productive forests


Nearly 50 percent of the world’s tropical forests are secondary forests that have regrown after clearing, agriculture or cattle grazing.

Earth Optimism: Oryx

Extinct in the wild for more than 35 years, scimitar-horned oryx are back in their native habitat thanks to international collaboration and the power of science.

Smithsonian history is right in line with Earth Optimism


The Smithsonian is celebrating Earth Day this month by hosting the first Earth Optimism Summit from April 21–23 in Washington, D.C.

Whale tagging in Southeast Pacific provides data for species protection


Humpback whales have distinctive tail markings that scientists use to track individuals as they migrate long distances.

Orchids and Fungus: A Conservation Connection


The showy orchid, Galearis spectabilis, a common orchid in Maryland. Smithsonian researchers like Dennis Whigham are working to conserve the 200-plus native orchid species in North America.

An unflinching gaze into the human face of battle at the National Portrait Gallery


Jun 29, 2009 – Kandahar, Afghanistan – Out of breath, US Army Spc. Larry Bowen age 26, sits shell-shocked in a ditch next to his machine gun after a frontal assault on an insurgent position in close quarter fighting during an operation that lasted  several days in the Taliban stronghold of Siah Choy in Zhari District, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.

Smithsonian Scientists Discover Two New Gecko Species in Vanishing Myanmar Rainforest


The Tenasserim Mountain bent-toed gecko is one of two new species of gecko discovered during a biodiversity survey in little-studied areas of Myanmar by Smithsonian and Fauna & Flora International scientists.

A Cup of Joe That’s Also Good for the Birds


Scarlet tanagers are neotropical migrants, spending winters in Central and South America and summers in North America.

Earth Optimism Summit to showcase steady, positive gains in conservation


Earth Day is coming up, and this year, the Smithsonian has a different take on it. It has invited more than 150 scientists, thought leaders, conservationists and civic leaders from around the world to the Smithsonian’s Earth Optimism Summit, April 21-23 in Washington, D.C.

Paleo-detectives energize great whale mystery: how & when baleen evolved


Baleen hangs from the palate of this gray whale swimming in the Pacific near Baja, California. (Flickr photo by Ryan Harvey) A bizarre change occurs in the mouth of a humpback whale during its development in the womb.

Paleo-detectives energize great whale mystery: how & when baleen evolved


Baleen hangs from the palate of this gray whale swimming in the Pacific near Baja, California. (Flickr photo by Ryan Harvey) A bizarre change occurs in the mouth of a humpback whale during its development in the womb.

Rigid yet flexible: Anatomy of woody vines has its grip on botanist Marcelo Pace


Marcelo Pace in his office at the National Museum of Natural History What might lure someone away from the sunny beaches and lush forests of Brazil to the concrete jungle of Washington, D.C.?

The Adorable Face of Conservation Success


Black-footed ferret (courtesy of Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park) Playful and oh-so-cute, black-footed ferrets are North America’s only native ferret species, which once ranged throughout the North American Great Plains.

Earth Optimism: Change is Possible

The global conservation movement has reached a turning point. We have documented the fast pace of habitat loss, the growing number of endangered and extinct species, and the increasing speed of global climate change.


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