1. The Peregrine Falcon, the swiftest of all birds of prey, is one of the most widely distributed species of birds, nesting on every continent except Antarctica. The world’s largest urban population of nesting Peregrine Falcons is in New York City.
The display in this hall was conceived by the Museum’s great ornithologist Frank M. Chapman. Under Chapman, the Museum’s bird collection grew to one of the greatest in the world. It holds over 95 percent of all known species of birds, or about 9,100 different kinds.
More in the Leonard C. Sanford Hall of North American Birds.

    The Peregrine Falcon, the swiftest of all birds of prey, is one of the most widely distributed species of birds, nesting on every continent except Antarctica. The world’s largest urban population of nesting Peregrine Falcons is in New York City.

    The display in this hall was conceived by the Museum’s great ornithologist Frank M. Chapman. Under Chapman, the Museum’s bird collection grew to one of the greatest in the world. It holds over 95 percent of all known species of birds, or about 9,100 different kinds.

    More in the Leonard C. Sanford Hall of North American Birds.

  2. Johann Friederich Wilhelm Herbst (1743-1807), a German churchman, naturalist, and superb artist, drew this illustration of the crab Cancer reticulatus for his book series Versuch einer Naturgeschichte der Krabben und Krebse… (Attempt at a natural history of crabs and crayfish…). In this three-volume work, Herbst illustrated and described crabs and crayfish. Thanks to their meticulous detail and coloring, the beautiful images endure as a useful scientific resource. 
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.

    Johann Friederich Wilhelm Herbst (1743-1807), a German churchman, naturalist, and superb artist, drew this illustration of the crab Cancer reticulatus for his book series Versuch einer Naturgeschichte der Krabben und Krebse… (Attempt at a natural history of crabs and crayfish…). In this three-volume work, Herbst illustrated and described crabs and crayfish. Thanks to their meticulous detail and coloring, the beautiful images endure as a useful scientific resource. 

    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.

  3. North American Beaver - July evening, Central Michigan
The beaver is not your typical rodent. It’s the largest one on the continent, and the only one that can cut down mature trees. Beavers use the timber to build large, elaborate nests—dome-shaped lodges with underwater entrances—inside ponds. If there is no pond, beavers will create one by building a dam to block a stream. The resulting moat around their lodges keeps wolves, coyotes and other predators at bay.
    As semiaquatic rodents, beavers have closeable ears and nostrils, webbed hind feet and very dense fur coats. Their paddlelike tails appear to be covered in scales like a fish, but they aren’t. Rather, the skin is grooved in a scaly pattern, which makes the thick tail more flexible.
Beavers can drastically alter landscapes. Working  in family groups of four to eight, a beaver colony can cut down more than a ton of trees per year. This colony has dammed a stream with logs, mud and stones to make a pond. The land is so newly flooded that some trees have not yet drowned. 
By altering streams, beavers expand wetlands , offering rich habitat for other species. Beaver ponds can also control runoff and reduce erosion. Eventually, this pond will clog with sediment. At that point, or when all accessible trees are cut, the colony will abandon its effort and begin again elsewhere.
This diorama is located in the Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals. 

    North American Beaver - July evening, Central Michigan

    The beaver is not your typical rodent. It’s the largest one on the continent, and the only one that can cut down mature trees. Beavers use the timber to build large, elaborate nests—dome-shaped lodges with underwater entrances—inside ponds. If there is no pond, beavers will create one by building a dam to block a stream. The resulting moat around their lodges keeps wolves, coyotes and other predators at bay.

    As semiaquatic rodents, beavers have closeable ears and nostrils, webbed hind feet and very dense fur coats. Their paddlelike tails appear to be covered in scales like a fish, but they aren’t. Rather, the skin is grooved in a scaly pattern, which makes the thick tail more flexible.

    Beavers can drastically alter landscapes. Working  in family groups of four to eight, a beaver colony can cut down more than a ton of trees per year. This colony has dammed a stream with logs, mud and stones to make a pond. The land is so newly flooded that some trees have not yet drowned. 

    By altering streams, beavers expand wetlands , offering rich habitat for other species. Beaver ponds can also control runoff and reduce erosion. Eventually, this pond will clog with sediment. At that point, or when all accessible trees are cut, the colony will abandon its effort and begin again elsewhere.

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

  4. Our celebration of National Moth Week continues with the Hornet moth! Yesterday we featured the Madagascan sunset moth, and if you’re looking for more moth facts, head over to the Museum blog. 

    Our celebration of National Moth Week continues with the Hornet moth! Yesterday we featured the Madagascan sunset moth, and if you’re looking for more moth facts, head over to the Museum blog

  5. The opening of the Akeley Hall of African Mammals in 1936 marked the birth of the golden age of the diorama. Named for Carl Akeley—the naturalist, explorer, and Museum taxidermist—the hall showcases large mammals of Africa.
At the center is a freestanding group of eight elephants, poised as if to charge, surrounded by 28 vivid habitat dioramas. These provide a glimpse of the diverse topography of Africa and its wildlife, from the Serengeti Plain to the waters of the Upper Nile to the volcanic mountains of what was once the Belgian Congo. 
Learn more about the Akeley Hall of African Mammals.
AMNH/K. Regan

    The opening of the Akeley Hall of African Mammals in 1936 marked the birth of the golden age of the diorama. Named for Carl Akeleythe naturalist, explorer, and Museum taxidermistthe hall showcases large mammals of Africa.

    At the center is a freestanding group of eight elephants, poised as if to charge, surrounded by 28 vivid habitat dioramas. These provide a glimpse of the diverse topography of Africa and its wildlife, from the Serengeti Plain to the waters of the Upper Nile to the volcanic mountains of what was once the Belgian Congo. 

    Learn more about the Akeley Hall of African Mammals.

    AMNH/K. Regan

  6. Considered the most social of cats, lions live in prides that consist of one or more males, several females, and cubs. While a male lion consumes an average of 5,500 pounds of meat a year—mostly wildebeest, zebra, and antelopes—females do most of the actual hunting.
African lions breed at 3½ years old, and the cubs are born spotted at birth. Male lions weigh about 375 pounds while females average 265 pounds. In captivity, lions have lived up to 25 years, but in the wild they usually survive only half as long.
Find this diorama in the Akeley Hall of African Mammals.

    Considered the most social of cats, lions live in prides that consist of one or more males, several females, and cubs. While a male lion consumes an average of 5,500 pounds of meat a year—mostly wildebeest, zebra, and antelopes—females do most of the actual hunting.

    African lions breed at 3½ years old, and the cubs are born spotted at birth. Male lions weigh about 375 pounds while females average 265 pounds. In captivity, lions have lived up to 25 years, but in the wild they usually survive only half as long.

    Find this diorama in the Akeley Hall of African Mammals.

  7. Mediterranean Scallop
    This image from Giuseppe Poli’s Testacea utriusque Siciliae…(1791-1827) depicts the internal and external structures of a Mediterranean scallop (Pecten jacobaeus), with a degree of detail that had not previously been seen in a published work.
This illustration is on view now at the Museum in the exhibition, Natural Histories: 400 Years of Scientific Illustration from the Museum’s Library.

    Mediterranean Scallop

    This image from Giuseppe Poli’s Testacea utriusque Siciliae…(1791-1827) depicts the internal and external structures of a Mediterranean scallop (Pecten jacobaeus), with a degree of detail that had not previously been seen in a published work.

    This illustration is on view now at the Museum in the exhibition, Natural Histories: 400 Years of Scientific Illustration from the Museum’s Library.

  8. American badger - July Morning, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
After a fruitless night of hunting, a badger has discovered a fresh target: the burrow entrance of a Wyoming ground squirrel. Badgers will dig furiously to excavate underground prey and their own dens. They can quickly tunnel themselves out of sight  using powerful forelimbs and long claws. When attacked themselves—cougars and eagles will try —badgers fight back with ferocity.
This beautiful diorama is located in the Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals. 

    American badger - July Morning, Jackson Hole, Wyoming

    After a fruitless night of hunting, a badger has discovered a fresh target: the burrow entrance of a Wyoming ground squirrel. Badgers will dig furiously to excavate underground prey and their own dens. They can quickly tunnel themselves out of sight  using powerful forelimbs and long claws. When attacked themselves—cougars and eagles will try —badgers fight back with ferocity.

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

  9. Today’s peek into the archives shows the arrival of the Willamette Meteorite to the Museum in 1906. 

    Weighing 15.5 tons, this iron meteorite is the largest ever found in the United States and the sixth-largest in the world. The smooth surface melted during its blazing entry into the atmosphere, while the pits formed on the Earth’s surface.

    The Willamette Meteorite was originally located within the Upper Willamette Valley of Oregon. It was revered as a spiritual being that has healed and empowered the people of the valley by the Clackamas Indians who occupied the region. 

    Learn more about the formation of the Willamette Meteorite, and about its cultural significance

    AMNH/2A9703 and AMNH/31498 from the Museum’s Online Digital Special Collections.

  10. Madagascar Chameleon
In Erpétologie générale …(General herpetology…), the first comprehensive account of all amphibians and reptiles then described by scientists, organized by French zoologist André-Marie-Constant Duméril (1774-1860), dead and sometimes poorly preserved museum specimens appear in remarkably lifelike postures. This illustration depicts the Madagascar warty chameleon (Furcifer verrucosus).
See this and other illustrations from the Museum’s Rare Book Collection in the exhibition Natural Histories: 400 Years of Scientific Illustration from the Museum’s Library, open now. 

    Madagascar Chameleon

    In Erpétologie générale …(General herpetology…), the first comprehensive account of all amphibians and reptiles then described by scientists, organized by French zoologist André-Marie-Constant Duméril (1774-1860), dead and sometimes poorly preserved museum specimens appear in remarkably lifelike postures. This illustration depicts the Madagascar warty chameleon (Furcifer verrucosus).

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

  11. A magnificent model folded by Fiona Gillespie, age 14, designed by Meenakshi Mujerji, on display at the 2014 OrigamiUSA Convention.

    A magnificent model folded by Fiona Gillespie, age 14, designed by Meenakshi Mujerji, on display at the 2014 OrigamiUSA Convention.

  12. SPOTTED SKUNK AND RINGTAIL (CACOMISTLE) - June at Sunset, New Mexico
   In this diorama, the last rays of the June sun catch one face of the striking landform known as Shiprock. The remarkable handstand of the spotted skunk (left) is a warning to discourage the two curious ringtails (right) from getting any closer. If this pose doesn’t work, the skunk will release jets of foul-smelling musk from glands under its tail.
    Ringtails also combine chemistry with defensive body language. Here, one ringtail has made its tail fur stand upright, creating the illusion of larger size. If the standoff escalates, the ringtail might curve its tail over its head, and—as a last resort—emit its own smelly secretion.
This diorama is located in the Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals. 

    SPOTTED SKUNK AND RINGTAIL (CACOMISTLE)June at Sunset, New Mexico

    In this diorama, the last rays of the June sun catch one face of the striking landform known as Shiprock. The remarkable handstand of the spotted skunk (left) is a warning to discourage the two curious ringtails (right) from getting any closer. If this pose doesn’t work, the skunk will release jets of foul-smelling musk from glands under its tail.

    Ringtails also combine chemistry with defensive body language. Here, one ringtail has made its tail fur stand upright, creating the illusion of larger size. If the standoff escalates, the ringtail might curve its tail over its head, and—as a last resort—emit its own smelly secretion.

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

  13. Today USASAURUS and GERMANODON face off in the World Cup! Which winged reptile will make it through to the next round? We can’t wait to find out. Make your own pteam pterosaur now and share it with friends: Color A Pterosaur!
Learn more about Sinopterus and Tupandactylus, the pterosaurs featured here, in our new exhibition Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs. 

    Today USASAURUS and GERMANODON face off in the World Cup! Which winged reptile will make it through to the next round? We can’t wait to find out. Make your own pteam pterosaur now and share it with friends: Color A Pterosaur!

    Learn more about Sinopterus and Tupandactylus, the pterosaurs featured here, in our new exhibition Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs. 

  14. Royal Llama of the Inca

Most Inca goldwork and silverwork was melted down by the Spanish conquistadors. The Museum’s silver llama figurine is a rare example of Inca metalwork. Approximately 500 years old, it is from the Island of the Sun, or Lake Titicaca, Bolivia.
Every morning, an Inca priest presided over the sacrifice of a llama at the temple of the Sun. Anthropologists think that this figurine is a special white llama covered with a red blanket that was kept by the Inca ruler, or Sapa Inca, as a kind of mascot.
This object is located in the Hall of South American Peoples.

    Royal Llama of the Inca

    Most Inca goldwork and silverwork was melted down by the Spanish conquistadors. The Museum’s silver llama figurine is a rare example of Inca metalwork. Approximately 500 years old, it is from the Island of the Sun, or Lake Titicaca, Bolivia.

    Every morning, an Inca priest presided over the sacrifice of a llama at the temple of the Sun. Anthropologists think that this figurine is a special white llama covered with a red blanket that was kept by the Inca ruler, or Sapa Inca, as a kind of mascot.

    This object is located in the Hall of South American Peoples.

  15. From the Museum archives: “Dr. Barnum Brown with mounted Pteranodon, at the American Museum of Natural History, New York, 1938.” Taken by Charles H. Coles, this image combines two of our favorite things: pterosaurs and Barnum Brown. 
Learn all about Pteranodon longiceps, perhaps one of the most recognizable pterosaurs, which lived about 85 million years ago, then watch a video about Barnum Brown, the man who discovered Tyrannosaurus rex.
AMNH/315699

    From the Museum archives: “Dr. Barnum Brown with mounted Pteranodon, at the American Museum of Natural History, New York, 1938.” Taken by Charles H. Coles, this image combines two of our favorite things: pterosaurs and Barnum Brown. 

    Learn all about Pteranodon longiceps, perhaps one of the most recognizable pterosaurs, which lived about 85 million years ago, then watch a video about Barnum Brown, the man who discovered Tyrannosaurus rex.

    AMNH/315699