Blogs & Videos: Sciences

Learning from Pluto as a Dwarf Planet

NASA image from New Horizons of a cryovolcano (ice volcano) on Pluto’s surface.  Pluto was reclassified as a dwarf planet 10 years ago today. While many grieved the loss of the ninth planet, we’re now learning more than ever about this ball of ice and its faraway neighborhood at the edge of the solar system. So, what ended Pluto’s run as a planet? The International Astronomical Union, or IAU, defines a planet by three qualities: 1. Orbits the Sun

In Defense of Mosquitoes

August 20 is World Mosquito Day, but it’s not exactly a holiday celebrating them. It commemorates the day of the 1897 discovery that female mosquitoes transmit malaria, and it doesn’t paint them in a very positive light. “It’s funny—World Mosquito Day is mostly about getting rid of mosquitoes,” says The Field Museum’s resident mosquito expert, Alexandra Westrich, a research associate here and the contract supervisor at the Chicago Department of Public Health, where she oversees lab and field work surrounding West Nile virus.

Campaigning for CHANGE! Don't be Shallow - Vote for Mallow

In our last video we got to see one of the rarest flowers in the world blooming in its habitat for the first time in over a decade. It's the Kankakee mallow (Iliamna remota), under threat of extirpation and completely unique to Illinois... and we want to make it the official state flower! Field outreach coordinator Robb Telfer kicked off the campaign and we're TAKIN' IT TO THE STREETS. It's an election year, after all. 

Photo of dinosaur skeleton

How well do you know SUE?

The towering Tyrannosaurus rex that greets visitors at The Field Museum is hard to miss. But how well do you really know SUE? To celebrate SUE’s Unearth Day on August 12, the date she was discovered, we’re brushing up on some essential facts: Who is SUE? Even though we refer to SUE as a “she,” it is unknown whether this T. rex was female or male. We know that this carnivorous dinosaur lived about 67 million years ago and probably weighed nine tons during its life.

Illustrations of a glyptodont (large armadillo-like animal) and a spotted ironclad beetle

Extreme Animals Competition: Glyptodont v. Ironclad Beetle

In the Extreme Animals Competition, we’re looking at some of the fastest, fiercest, and strongest members of the animal kingdom. In the Armored Defenders category, the extinct glyptodont and the extant ironclad beetle are known for their built-in body armor. Glyptodont: Walking suit of armor Vital stats: 

Illustrations of a crocodile and a shark with spiral teeth

Extreme Animals Competition: Saltwater Crocodile v. Helicoprion

In the Extreme Animals Competition, we’re looking at some of the fastest, fiercest, and strongest members of the animal kingdom. While the prehistoric shark Helicoprion went extinct millions of years ago and saltwater croc still roams today, these two competitors in the Scary Chompers category both have some impressive jaws. Saltwater crocodile: Patient, powerful attacker Vital stats: 

Side by side illustrations of an antelope-like animal and a falcon

Extreme Animals Competition: Pronghorn v. Peregrine Falcon

In our Extreme Animals Competition, we’re looking at some of the fastest, fiercest, and strongest members of the animal kingdom. Representing the Speedy Sprinters category, the pronghorn and the peregrine falcon are two of the quickest animals on land and in the sky. Pronghorn: Outrunning the competition Vital stats: 

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