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A Year at the Museum: Top Posts of 2013

News posts

From amazing mammals to dazzling Milky Ways, 2013 has been a busy year on the blog—and at the Museum. Take a look back at some of our favorite posts of 2013: 

Tracing the Face and Age of the Placental Mammal Ancestor

MorphoBank 2_7

A small, furry-tailed, insect-eating creature was the earliest ancestor of placental mammals—a widely diverse group of animals ranging from bats to humans—according to a new study by a team of international scientists, including a core group of Museum researchers.

What are Whales? 

sperm whale pygv

What does the word "whale" bring to mind? For many, it might be the image of a blue whale, the largest animal that ever lived. But did you know that dolphins and porpoises, which are far smaller and look quite different, are also types of specialized whales? 

Meteor, Meteorite, Asteroid: What’s the Difference? 

Meteorite1

On February 15, news reports and YouTube videos of a meteor breaking up in the Siberian sky poured in. Soon after, another space rock—asteroid 2012 DA14—flew by Earth more closely than any asteroid whose orbit astrophysicists have calculated beforehand. Learn the difference between these celestial objects.  

Ancient Trilobite Fossils on Display 

Trio of trilobites

© AMNH/R. Mickens


A new display in the Grand Gallery on the Museum’s first floor includes some of the oldest fossils on exhibit. Called trilobites, some of these extinct marine arthropods are more than 500 million years old.

Which Came First: The Bird or the Brain?

Bird Brain research

New research led by the American Museum of Natural History provides evidence that dinosaurs evolved the brainpower necessary for flight well before they actually took to the air as birds.

All About Periodical Cicadas

17-Year Cicadas Emerge in Eastern U.S.

Quiet for months during the winter and early spring, the world of invertebrates—including insects—is bursting to life as the weather warms. But this year, as you’ve probably heard, brings a rare…treat: billions of cicadas, all along the Eastern seaboard, including New York.

Happy National Moth Week! 

Great Tiger Moth

©  Jim des Rivières


National Moth Week takes place every year in mid-July. It’s an ideal time to observe and celebrate these remarkable, mainly nocturnal, butterfly cousins. Before heading outdoors here are some surprising facts about moths.  

Happy Anniversary, Curiosity! 

Curiosity: Searching for Carbon

On August 6, 2013 the Curiosity rover celebrated one full year on Mars. The rover is seeking environments on Mars that could support life or could have in the past. Watch the Curiosity team prepare to hunt for carbon. 

Fall’s Special Exhibition Is The Power of Poison 

Inside View: The Power of Poison

Whether as a defense against predators, a source of magical strength, or a lethal weapon used as lifesaving medical treatment, the story of poison is surprising at every turn. 

See the Milky Way As Never Before 

Dark Universe Milky Way

The Milky Way Galaxy as it appears in Dark Universe (2013) 


Each of the five Space Shows produced at the Museum’s Hayden Planetarium since the opening of the Rose Center for Earth and Space in 2000 has showcased the Milky Way Galaxy with ever-greater precision. To celebrate the opening of the new Space Show, Dark Universe on November 2, 2013, we’ve traced the evolution of the Milky Way over the past five Space Shows.
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