Last summer, the popular website PhD Comics invited graduate students from around the world to record and submit two-minute descriptions of their theses. Of more than 200 entries submitted, 12 were chosen to be animated and published on PhD Comics TV. Winners included Or Graur, a graduate student at Tel Aviv University and the Richard Gilder Graduate School at the Museum, where he works with Curator Michael Shara in the Astrophysics Department. Watch the animation, called The Secret Lives (and Deaths) of Stars.
A team of researchers has published the first range-wide genetic analysis of the bowhead whale—a baleen whale that lives in Arctic and sub-Arctic waters—using hundreds of samples from both modern populations and archaeological sites used by indigenous hunters thousands of years ago.
A new scientific study shows that duck-billed dinosaurs pulverized tough and abrasive plants with grinding teeth more complex than those of cows, horses, and other well-known modern grazers. The researchers, which included Mark Norell, the chair of the Museum’s Division of Paleontology, are the first to recover material properties from fossilized teeth.
Contradictory explanations for the evolution of nectar-drinking in a diverse group of bats have long puzzled scientists, but new research led by the American Museum of Natural History and Stony Brook University provides a clear answer.
The conflicting explanations come from two different types of data. Genetic data suggest that nectar feeding evolved twice in New World leaf-nosed bats whereas earlier analyses of the bats’ anatomy point to a single origin of nectar feeding. These bats are found in Central and South America and, uniquely among bats, eat nectar, fruit, frogs, lizards, and blood.