Apparently these pendants sold quite rapidly.

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Fossil collecting on the shores of lake Huron. The elongate one looks like a horn coral, not sure what the other one is. Fossils often can be found separated from rocks like this as they tend to erode differently from the surrounding rock. A lakeshore though you’ll find some and they’ll also be rounded and not quite pristine because of the waves.

Perhaps the strangest animals that ever roamed the Cuban landscape were its sloths, distantly related to the tree sloths still living in South and Central America. Fossils show us that sloths were present in Cuba by 18 million years ago and eventually diversified into several species. Visitors will get to see the fossils of one of the largest of these sloths, Megalocnus rodens, in the ¡Cuba! exhibition. ©AMNH/D. Finnin


At one time, some scientists thought Stegosaurus had a second brain because the one in its head seemed so small. Stegosaurus did, however, manage with one small brain.

Stegosaurus plates have grooves for blood vessels, indicating that they were covered with skin when the animal was alive. These plates were probably used in display or species recognition, much like the horns of many modern animals, including deer and antelope.


In the summer of 2014, a team led by the Museum’s Provost of Science Mike Novacek and Paleontology Division Chair Mark Norell headed to the Gobi for the joint American Museum of Natural History/Mongolian Academy of Sciences expedition. The group included Aki Watanabe, one of Mark Norell’s students at the Museum’s Richard Gilder Graduate School, who was recently chosen as a beta-tester for Google Glass and who recorded video on Glass throughout the trip.

In this video, Watanabe finds a fossil dinosaur nest, and shows how he extracts and packages it to return to the lab for further research.

Fossil Friday: NSF visits the Smithsonian to teach about fossils

NSF science assistant Alex Cohen (top) and science analyst Fatima Touma (bottom) helped children learn about the science behind fossils.

The National Park Service, NSF, and other partners sponsor annual National Fossil Day Events. National Fossil Day is a nationwide celebration meant to promote education about the science of fossils and to excite the next generation of explorers. This year over 300 people, mostly school aged children and their families, attended Washington, D.C.’s Fossil Day event at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

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It’s our favorite time of year—Cephalopod Week!—the annual celebration of all things tentacled. We’re teaming up with @sciencefriday to talk about cephalopods, and celebrate these amazing, adaptive, and sometimes creepy creatures.

Today’s Fossil Friday is a look at the diversity of some extinct cephalopods, ammonites. For some people, the Mesozoic era is the age of dinosaurs, but it was also the age of ammonites. When you think of an ammonite, you probably think of a spiral-shelled sea creature. But in fact, this was just one of the many shapes that ammonites took. 

Scaphites start with a closely-coiled shell and culminate in a hook. Baculites departed from the planispiral coil altogether, and formed a straight shell. Nipponites have meandering whorls, and turrilitids begin to look a little like snail shells. There are probably altogether about 30 different shapes of, of ammonites.

Evolutionary biologists at the turn of the 19th century figured that these shapes must have indicated something was very wrong with the ammonites, with the gene pool of ammonites, and this presaged their ultimate extinction, but nothing could be farther from the truth.

Learn more about this amazing array in a new video and find much more on the @cephalopodweek blog!