Blogs & Videos: Sciences

Rows of pinned bee specimens

All Hail the Queen Bee

There’s been lots of buzz about a certain queen bee, but we don't think you’re ready for this jelly—royal jelly, that is. It’s time to take a look into the lives of our favorite queen honey bees. Here are four facts about queen bees that you can share with the hive:

Strange sea-dwelling reptile fossil hints at rapid evolution after mass extinction

Two hundred and fifty million years ago, life on earth was in a tail-spin—climate change, volcanic eruptions, and rising sea levels contributed to a mass extinction that makes the death of the dinosaurs look like child’s play. Marine life got hit hardest—96% of all marine species went extinct. For a long time, scientists believed that the early marine reptiles that came about after the mass extinction evolved slowly, but the recent discovery of a strange new fossil brings that view into question.

Group of people posing next to river

Hitting the Pavement to Save Endangered Plants

What if a rare plant is living right in your backyard? Well, it just might be. But how do you find out it’s there, and what can you do with that information? Right now, some local endangered plant species are making a surprise comeback. They grow in the Calumet region, which includes the southern part of Chicago and northern Indiana. Two kinds of sedge, a grass-like flowering plant, recently set down roots on a field of slag. This hard material comes from making steel and is usually seen as toxic to nature.  

“Hammerhead” creature was world’s first plant-eating marine reptile

In 2014, scientists discovered a bizarre fossil—a crocodile-sized sea-dwelling reptile that lived 242 million years ago in what today is southern China. Its head was poorly preserved, but it seemed to have a flamingo-like beak. But in a paper published today in Science Advances, paleontologists reveal what was really going on—that “beak” is actually part of a hammerhead-shaped jaw apparatus, which it used to feed on plants on the ocean floor. It’s the earliest known example of an herbivorous marine reptile.

Tully monster mystery SOLVED!

How is it that a Museum can have 1,200+ fossils of a particular species in its collection since the 1960's... and not even know what it is? For decades, it was thought the 'Tully monster' -- a bizarre animal that lived 307 million years ago -- was an invertebrate, like a kind of worm. But in March, Field Museum scientists helped finally crack the mystery of the monster, to reveal it's actually related to lamprey fish. BOOM.

Beetles, Mites, Cockroaches Oh My! [Insect Collection Tour]

The insect collection is the largest at The Field Museum, with more than 12 million specimens - only (only?!) 4 million of those are pinned in the dry collection. Crystal is in charge of all of them- no pressure. Want to search the zoological collections on your own? Look no further!:http://bit.ly/fmnhzoology

Crystal and her Water Beetles

Want to travel the world? Become a biologist! Crystal Maier - Collections Manager of Insects at The Field Museum - spent a month in New Zealand, going from stream to stream in search of hobbits. And by hobbits I mean beetles that spend their entire lives underwater. How?! Why?! We get answers. Thanks to Crystal for taking the time to talk with us about her research! 

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