1. Two-toed Sloth
Albert Seba’s (1665-1736) four volume Thesaurus (Locupletissimi rerum naturalium thesauri accurata descriptio…) illustrated the Dutch apothecary’s enormous collection of animal and plant specimens amassed over the years. Using preserved specimens, Seba’s artists could depict anatomy accurately—but not behavior. For example, this two-toed sloth is shown climbing upright, even though in nature, sloths hang upside down.
See this and other illustrations from the Museum’s Rare Book Collection in Natural Histories: 400 Years of Scientific Illustration from the Museum’s Library.

    Two-toed Sloth

    Albert Seba’s (1665-1736) four volume Thesaurus (Locupletissimi rerum naturalium thesauri accurata descriptio…) illustrated the Dutch apothecary’s enormous collection of animal and plant specimens amassed over the years. Using preserved specimens, Seba’s artists could depict anatomy accurately—but not behavior. For example, this two-toed sloth is shown climbing upright, even though in nature, sloths hang upside down.

    See this and other illustrations from the Museum’s Rare Book Collection in Natural Histories: 400 Years of Scientific Illustration from the Museum’s Library.

  2. Today’s peek into the archives takes us back to the Museum in 1910. “Sigurd Neandross painting figure in Haida ceremonial canoe, North Pacific Hall” was photographed by Thomas Lunt. 
The Great Canoe has since been moved to the Museum’s Grand Gallery. At 63 feet long, the seaworthy Great Canoe is one of the Museum’s most popular artifacts. It was carved in the 1870s from the trunk of a single cedar tree, and features design elements from different Native American peoples of the Northwest Coast, notably Haida and Heiltsuk. 
Learn more about the history of the Great Canoe.
AMNH/33006

    Today’s peek into the archives takes us back to the Museum in 1910. “Sigurd Neandross painting figure in Haida ceremonial canoe, North Pacific Hall” was photographed by Thomas Lunt.

    The Great Canoe has since been moved to the Museum’s Grand Gallery. At 63 feet long, the seaworthy Great Canoe is one of the Museum’s most popular artifacts. It was carved in the 1870s from the trunk of a single cedar tree, and features design elements from different Native American peoples of the Northwest Coast, notably Haida and Heiltsuk.

    Learn more about the history of the Great Canoe.

    AMNH/33006

  3. Fieldwork Journal: Reporting from Inner Mongolia

    Jack Tseng and Camille Grohe, postdoctoral fellows in the Division of Paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History, are blogging from the field during an expedition to Inner Mongolia. Their expedition aims to find fossils of extinct mammals that lived between 20 and 6 million years ago.

    In Jack’s first blog post, he discusses the area of Inner Mongolia (not to be confused with Mongolia) where the expedition is taking place and Museum’s historic Central Asiatic Expeditions of the 1920’s. 

    Read the full Fieldwork Journal on the Museum blog. 

  4. A time-lapse Vine, taken over the course of five minutes in the Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda. 

    Check out more Museum Vine Videos!

  5. Golden Orb-Web Spider - Nephila pilipes
Walking through the Southeast Asian rainforest, you might glimpse this large spider, with its bright yellow markings and its large orb web. The spider sits in this strong web day and night, feeding whenever prey gets caught.
Check me out: My first pair of legs is long—reaching roughly twice the length of my body.
Species range: From northern Australia through Southeast Asia, eastern India and parts of China and Japan.
Habitat: Terrestrial; from rainforest trees to gardens, with webs even attached to buildings at times.
Should you worry? No. This spider is not aggressive and very rarely bites humans. Even if it did, the venom is harmless.
Fun fact: Spiders of the genus Nephila, like the one on display here, are sometimes called “golden orb spiders,” for their giant webs tend to gleam yellow in the sun. Why? Females of some Nephila species use silks containing yellow pigments in their constructions. Because flowers and new leaves are often yellow, some scientists think the color in a web may help attract insects that either pollinate or feed on plants. 
See this and other arachnid species in the exhibition, Spiders Alive! open now. 

    Golden Orb-Web SpiderNephila pilipes

    Walking through the Southeast Asian rainforest, you might glimpse this large spider, with its bright yellow markings and its large orb web. The spider sits in this strong web day and night, feeding whenever prey gets caught.

    Check me out: My first pair of legs is long—reaching roughly twice the length of my body.

    Species range: From northern Australia through Southeast Asia, eastern India and parts of China and Japan.

    Habitat: Terrestrial; from rainforest trees to gardens, with webs even attached to buildings at times.

    Should you worry? No. This spider is not aggressive and very rarely bites humans. Even if it did, the venom is harmless.

    Fun fact: Spiders of the genus Nephila, like the one on display here, are sometimes called “golden orb spiders,” for their giant webs tend to gleam yellow in the sun. Why? Females of some Nephila species use silks containing yellow pigments in their constructions. Because flowers and new leaves are often yellow, some scientists think the color in a web may help attract insects that either pollinate or feed on plants. 

    See this and other arachnid species in the exhibition, Spiders Alive! open now. 

  6. This #MuseumMonday, we’re featuring the Ellsworth Corridor. 
This area on the Museum’s first floor just off the Grand Gallery celebrates a relatively unsung hero of polar exploration: the American Lincoln Ellsworth. His bust graces the back wall of the narrow hallway, while the display cases on either side contain artifacts detailing Ellsworth’s efforts to become the first man to fly across both polar continents, a feat he accomplished in 1935 when he crossed the Antarctic in his plane Polar Star. Ten years earlier, Ellsworth’s first attempt to fly over the North Pole teamed him with Norwegian Roald Amundsen, whose earlier overland competition with British Royal Navy Captain Robert Falcon Scott to reach the South Pole is chronicled in the Museum’s traveling exhibition Race to the End of the Earth. Through the special relationship between Amundsen and Ellsworth, the Museum Library’s Memorabilia Collection came to possess items the Norwegian explorer carried with him on his quest to reach the South Pole, including a sledge, chronometer, binoculars, shotgun, and a tin cup from the ship Fram, which are featured in the corridor.
Explore other halls on this #MuseumMonday!

    This #MuseumMonday, we’re featuring the Ellsworth Corridor. 

    This area on the Museum’s first floor just off the Grand Gallery celebrates a relatively unsung hero of polar exploration: the American Lincoln Ellsworth. His bust graces the back wall of the narrow hallway, while the display cases on either side contain artifacts detailing Ellsworth’s efforts to become the first man to fly across both polar continents, a feat he accomplished in 1935 when he crossed the Antarctic in his plane Polar Star. Ten years earlier, Ellsworth’s first attempt to fly over the North Pole teamed him with Norwegian Roald Amundsen, whose earlier overland competition with British Royal Navy Captain Robert Falcon Scott to reach the South Pole is chronicled in the Museum’s traveling exhibition Race to the End of the Earth. Through the special relationship between Amundsen and Ellsworth, the Museum Library’s Memorabilia Collection came to possess items the Norwegian explorer carried with him on his quest to reach the South Pole, including a sledge, chronometer, binoculars, shotgun, and a tin cup from the ship Fram, which are featured in the corridor.

    Explore other halls on this #MuseumMonday!

  7. In celebration of our new film Great White Shark, now playing daily in 3D and IMAX, here are some spectacular shark facts:

    • Sharks began evolving about 450 million years ago. Of the roughly 340 living species some have changed little in the past 100 million years.
    • Sharks were the first vertebrates to develop an immune system and may have a greater immunity to cancer than humans.
    • Shark teeth are made of hard enamel, which may explain why ancient shark teeth are the most commonly found vertebrate fossils today.
    • Some living shark species replace old and broken teeth as frequently as every ten days. There are 12,000 bull-shark fossil teeth on view in the Museum’s Hall of Vertebrate Origins—approximately the number of teeth a bull-shark will have during its lifetime. 
    • Shark bones are made of light, tough cartilage, which is rarely fossilized.
    • Like other cartilaginous fishes, sharks do not have a gas bladder to keep them afloat so many species (but not all) must move constantly to keep from sinking. Many sharks have large, oil-filled livers that make them more buoyant.
    • Most sharks bear live young. Some species can remain pregnant for over two yea­rs, longer than any other vertebrate.
    • Sharks typically bear three to 12 pups and many do not reproduce until age 30, making it hard for them to recover when large numbers are killed by humans.

  8. Sewellel (Mountain Beaver) - August Morning, Mount Rainier, Washington
Neither a beaver nor a high-mountain dweller, the sewellel is a rather singular animal. It’s the last living member of a once-successful family of rodents called the Aplodontiidae. The sewellel is a “living fossil,” showing primitive skeletal features that other rodents have lost. Its kidneys are also unusual: they are inefficient at maintaining the body’s water balance. Thus the sewellel needs to live close to water so it can drink a lot—a third of its weight in water per day. 
This diorama is located in the Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals.

    Sewellel (Mountain Beaver)August Morning, Mount Rainier, Washington

    Neither a beaver nor a high-mountain dweller, the sewellel is a rather singular animal. It’s the last living member of a once-successful family of rodents called the Aplodontiidae. The sewellel is a “living fossil,” showing primitive skeletal features that other rodents have lost. Its kidneys are also unusual: they are inefficient at maintaining the body’s water balance. Thus the sewellel needs to live close to water so it can drink a lot—a third of its weight in water per day. 

    This diorama is located in the Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals.

  9. It’s a beautiful day to explore the inside and outside of the Museum. #amnh

    It’s a beautiful day to explore the inside and outside of the Museum. #amnh

  10. In November 2013 a group of Museum scientists including Curators James Webster and George Harlow traveled to Mogok, a historic city in northern Myanmar (Burma), to study the region’s complex geological evolution.
Read part 2 of the expedition to “Ruby Land.”

    In November 2013 a group of Museum scientists including Curators James Webster and George Harlow traveled to Mogok, a historic city in northern Myanmar (Burma), to study the region’s complex geological evolution.

    Read part 2 of the expedition to “Ruby Land.”

  11. How about a whole bunch of shark teeth for #fossilfriday? 
Sharks produce hundreds or even thousands of teeth in their lifetime. Fossilized shark teeth are among the most common vertebrate fossils. It has been estimated that many sharks produce between 10,000 and 15,000 teeth in their lifetime. In this Museum display in the Hall of Vertebrate Origins, roughly 12,000 fossil bull-shark teeth are shown, dating to Miocene, collected in North Carolina. 

    How about a whole bunch of shark teeth for #fossilfriday? 

    Sharks produce hundreds or even thousands of teeth in their lifetime. Fossilized shark teeth are among the most common vertebrate fossils. It has been estimated that many sharks produce between 10,000 and 15,000 teeth in their lifetime. In this Museum display in the Hall of Vertebrate Origins, roughly 12,000 fossil bull-shark teeth are shown, dating to Miocene, collected in North Carolina. 

  12. We’re welcoming the weekend with sharks! If you want to experience the spectacular world of sharks, look no further than the halls of the Museum. Find sharks in fossils, dioramas, and even in IMAX and 3D

    Here are some cool links from the past week:

    • Read part 1 and part 2 of Museum geologist’s expedition to “Ruby Land”
    • Did you see the Supermoon? There were actually four super moons in August!
    • New research gives insight into the long-puzzling question of scorpion tail development.
    • Robert Hooke’s illustration of his own frozen urine, from 1667.
    • See a video of Dr. Samuel Wang’s lecture on autism
    • The Aztec Sun Stone was a centerpiece of the original Hayden Planetarium, in 1935.

    Have a great weekend!

  13. Today’s peek into the archives shows us “Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Horsfall working on background of Wild Turkey Habitat Group, North American Bird Hall.” Photographed by Otis J. Wheelock in 1907. 
For more images of diorama construction and more than 7,000 other archival images, head to our new online database Digital Special Collections.
AMNH/31655

    Today’s peek into the archives shows us “Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Horsfall working on background of Wild Turkey Habitat Group, North American Bird Hall.” Photographed by Otis J. Wheelock in 1907. 

    For more images of diorama construction and more than 7,000 other archival images, head to our new online database Digital Special Collections.

    AMNH/31655

  14. The Museum’s Richard Gilder Graduate School students are getting summer reading done in their student lounge. @nypl #ireadeverywhere 

    The Museum’s Richard Gilder Graduate School students are getting summer reading done in their student lounge. @nypl #ireadeverywhere 

  15. 


Frozen Urine
Micrographia (1667), the first book in English to illustrate the microscopic world, was popular in part because it presented an enormous range of subjects. The meticulous illustrations of a flea and other minute creatures, foretold a new chapter in natural history, in which organisms could be classified according to precisely detailed descriptions of their anatomy—even the tiniest. 
This image, by author and illustrator Robert Hooke, depicts geometric formations in frozen urine (presumably his own).
See this and other illustrations from the Museum’s Rare Book Collection in Natural Histories: 400 Years of Scientific Illustration from the Museum’s Library.

    Frozen Urine

    Micrographia (1667), the first book in English to illustrate the microscopic world, was popular in part because it presented an enormous range of subjects. The meticulous illustrations of a flea and other minute creatures, foretold a new chapter in natural history, in which organisms could be classified according to precisely detailed descriptions of their anatomy—even the tiniest. 

    This image, by author and illustrator Robert Hooke, depicts geometric formations in frozen urine (presumably his own).

    See this and other illustrations from the Museum’s Rare Book Collection in Natural Histories: 400 Years of Scientific Illustration from the Museum’s Library.