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The Arthur Ross Terrace will be closed this morning, Tuesday, October 21, for a private cultural observance. You many observe smoke and/or fire coming from the Terrace at that time. The FDNY has been notified in advance, and all safety precautions are in place. The Terrace will reopen at 1 pm.

News Posts

Decades of Discovery on St. Catherines Island

Research posts

David Hurst Thomas is the curator of North American Archaeology in the Museum’s Division of Anthropology and has spent his career studying the human history of St. Catherines Island. Below, he explains how archaeological finds are proving history books wrong.

For nearly four decades, it’s been my privilege to work as an archaeologist on St. Catherines—a Manhattan-sized island 10 miles off the Georgia coastline. One of the storied Golden Isles, St. Catherines is privately owned; only two people live there. Forty years ago, the Edward John Noble Foundation established a long-term relationship with the American Museum of Natural History to pursue scientific research, conservation, and education on the island.

Tags: Anthropology

creatures

Zach Baldwin on How Ponyfishes and Flashlight Fishes Shine

On Exhibit posts

Curator John Sparks is blogging weekly about the upcoming exhibition, Creatures of Light, which opens on Saturday, March 31. This week, he invited Zach Baldwin, a Ph.D. student at the Museum’s Richard Gilder Graduate School who works in the Department of Ichthyology and who consulted on the exhibition, to contribute the guest post below.

A common misconception about bioluminescent fishes is that they all live in the perpetual darkness of the deep sea. In truth, one of the most fascinating aspects of bioluminescence is the diversity of organisms and environments in which the phenomenon is known to occur. There are bioluminescent fishes occurring on coral reefs, in estuaries, and even in the rocky intertidal zone along coastlines. Approximately 100 species in nine families of fishes that live in shallow marine waters are known to luminesce.

Tags: Bioluminescence

Microraptor

New Finding: Dinosaur’s Feathers Were Black with Iridescent Sheen

Research posts

A pigeon-sized, four-winged dinosaur known as Microraptor had black iridescent feathers when it roamed the Earth 130 million years ago, according to new research led by a team of American and Chinese scientists that includes Museum researchers. The dinosaur’s fossilized plumage is the earliest record of iridescent feather color. The findings, which suggest the importance of display in the early evolution of feathers, are published in the March 9 edition of the journal Science.

“This study gives us an unprecedented glimpse at what this animal looked like when it was alive,” said Mark Norell, one of the paper’s authors and chair of the Museum’s Division of Paleontology.

Tags: Dinosaurs, Paleontology

Extremophiles and Life Beyond Earth

Q&As

Research about organisms that can weather Earth’s harshest environments has broadened ideas of where living things can thrive. On Sunday, March 11, the Museum’s 2012 Milstein Science Series kicks off with Extremophiles: Life in Extreme Environments, an exploration of how such organisms survive and what studying Earth’s extremophiles could mean for the search for extraterrestrial life. Seth Shostak, one of the guest speakers at the March 11 program, is a senior astronomer at the SETI Institute and researches whether life—from the intelligent to the extreme—could exist elsewhere in the universe. Below, Shostak answers a few questions about extremophiles and the search beyond life as we know it.

Tags: Exhibitions, Hayden Planetarium, Q&A

The Re-making of Mars: Terraforming Table

On Exhibit posts

The scent of evergreens, stones covered in moss, and the hum of rushing water are familiar features in many forests on Earth. But could these also describe a future landscape on Mars?

Once a staple of science fiction, terraforming—or making a planet more like Earth—is now being studied as a real possibility, as scientists research how to apply knowledge of evolution, climate, and technology to re-create the blue planet’s environment on the red planet. Visitors can learn firsthand how humans might make Mars habitable with a custom, multi-user touch table featured in the Museum’s exhibition Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration.

Tags: Hayden Planetarium, NASA

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