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Due to the weather, the Museum is closed on Tuesday, January 27. All Tuesday programs and some Wednesday programs have been cancelled. Please check here for a full list, and check back for regular updates.

The Museum will be open on Wednesday, January 28, during regular hours, from 10 am to 5:45 pm.

Regular updates will also be posted to our Facebook page and Twitter account (@AMNH).

Bioluminescence

Mushroom
© AMNH/E. Grosch

Eighty percent of all known bioluminescent groups inhabit the world's oceans. At certain depths, nearly all organisms glow. On land, things are quite different. There are bioluminescent fungi and insects, but no flowering plants, birds, reptiles, amphibians, or mammals that glow.

How did bioluminescence evolve? Scientists are still working on this question. But one thing is clear: bioluminescence has evolved independently many times—at least 50, and probably many more. Such widespread occurrence tells scientists that the trait provides an important edge to organisms that have it.

American Museum of Natural History

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