A Look Back at Top Blog Posts in 2014 main content.

A Look Back at Top Blog Posts in 2014

by AMNH on

News Posts

From a poison mystery to dispatches from a paleo expedition to Mongolia, here is a look at some favorite blog posts from 2014. 

Researchers Reveal Covert World of Fish Biofluorescence

In January, a team of researchers led by Museum scientists released the first report of widespread biofluorescence in the tree of life of fishes, identifying more than 180 species that glow in a wide range of colors and patterns.


Polar Bear Diet Changes as Sea Ice Melts

Studies by Museum scientists suggest that polar bears in the warming Arctic are turning to alternate food sources. As Arctic sea ice melts earlier and freezes later each year, polar bears must spend more time on land and are using flexible foraging strategies.

Polar bear eating seal
A polar bear, Ursus maritmus, eats a seal, its historically preferred prey.
© AMNH/R. Rockwell



Poison: What Killed Napoleon?

Was Napoleon Bonaparte poisoned? This mystery—which was featured in the 2013–2014 Museum exhibition The Power of Poison—has intrigued historians since the defeated French emperor’s death on May 5, 1821.

The Emperor Napoleon in his study at the Tuileries.
Via Wikimedia Commons/National Gallery of Art


Amazing Ammonites 

The extinct mollusks known as ammonites inhabited the planet for more than 300 million years—almost twice as long as dinosaurs. In 2014, the Museum’s collections grew by about 150,000 ammonite specimens with the addition of the Mapes marine fossil collection, donated by Ohio University.

Rows of fossilized ammonites of various sizes and colors.
The Museum's collection of ammonites is housed in the Invertebrate Paleontology Collection, which includes an estimated 4.5 million specimens.
© AMNH/D. Finnin



Archival Image Treasure Trove Goes Online

In April, some 7,000 archival photographs, rare book illustrations, drawings, notes, letters, and memorabilia from the Museum's expeditions, exhibitions, and research came online with the launch of Digital Special Collections.

Dinosaur Eggs in Gobi Lantern Slide
Roy Chapman Andrews (left) and George Olsen photographed "at the nest of the even dozen Dinosaur eggs" during the Museum’s Third Central Asiatic Expedition, Mongolia, 1925.
© AMNH/J. Shackelford


Sea Anemone Tree of Life Reveals Giant Species as Impostor

A deep-water creature once thought to be one of the world’s largest sea anemones, with tentacles reaching more than 6.5 feet long, belongs to a new order of animals, Museum researchers reported in May. 

Relicanthidae (not a sea anemone)
This unidentified specimen belonging within Relicanthidae is a sea creature that was previously thought to be a giant sea anemone (order Actiniaria). New research places this animal in a new order—a classification equal to Carnivora in mammals or Crocodilia in reptiles. The species, which lives near hydrothermal vents, has tentacles reaching more than 6.5 feet long.
© NERC CHESSO project

Fieldwork Journal: A Day in the Life of a Paleontologist

Jack Tseng, a postdoctoral fellow in the Division of Paleontology, blogged about a day in the life of a paleontologist during an expedition to Inner Mongolia in August.

Tseng Jacketing
Camille applying a plaster coating, called a jacket, to a rhino leg-bone at a new locality in northeastern Abaga Banner. The jacket will protect the specimen during transport.
© J. Tseng

Lonesome George and the Galapagos Today

With the opening in September of the exhibition about Lonesome George, the famed Galapagos tortoise that was the last of his species, the Museum hosted an in-depth conversation about biodiversity and conservation. 


Display of large tortoise standing, left leg lifted slightly. Neck extended, head held high. Green food stains on face and one-third way down neck.
© AMNH/R. Mickens

A Rare Beauty

As the Butterfly Conservatory re-opened in the fall, we highlighted a Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing from the Museum’s collection—the world’s largest butterfly and also one of the most endangered.

Ornithoptera alexandrae
Ornithoptera alexandrae


Seven Questions for Collections Dean Scott Schaefer

Dr. Schaefer, who oversees the Museum’s 33-million-strong scientific holdings, talked shop in November as we launched Shelf Life, our new original series about the Museum’s collections.

Scott Schaefer 1
Scott Schaefer holds a jar of about 65 specimens of the Vandellia catfish, or candiru, from the Museum's ichthyology collections. This parasitic species has a legendary reputation for entering the urethras of unwary humans, but it more typically finds a meal by swimming into the gill chambers of larger fish.  
©AMNH/E. Chapman