Archive for the 'Science' Category



Friday Quick Links

by Katie Bowell, Curator of Interpretation

Out of Context pulls out single sentences from scientific papers.

When they come across a dead fish, they snuggle their sinewy bodies down into its cavities and stay there, writhing blissfully.

Is the world entering a new geologic epoch? Perhaps. Some scientists are arguing that the era we live in now should be called the Anthropocene, due to the extreme influence of human actions on the environment and climate.

This mosaic of the biodiversity of Mo’orea really is infinite. Start clicking and see how deep you can get.

Do you look like the most typical person in the world? What about one of the average faces of women in 40 different countries?

Think that oysters are the only mollusks that make pearls? It looks like nautaloids may have been making them 400 million years ago.

Half a dodo was found in a museum drawer. It makes you wonder what might still be hiding in our own museum collection…

Artists reconstruct a new picture of Otzi, the Iceman, based on new genetic information of humans 5,000 years ago.

And The History Teachers sing about Otzi to the tune of The Beatles “Taxman.”

Some of the nicest ten minutes you can spend – listening to David Attenborough’s Life Stories podcasts.

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Friday Quick Links

by Katie Bowell, Curator of Interpretation

A set of mystery false teeth

Scientists are developing a common language that will let dolphins and humans communicate with each other.

Seaweed may Earth’s oldest plant.

Do you know who these enameled and filigree gold false teeth belonged to? If you do, there’s a reward for $500. And even if you don’t, a good enough made-up story could still win you some money.

A new dinosaur has been given the nickname “Thunder Thighs.”

Are you smarter than an 8th grader? Probably. Are you smarter than an 8th grader from 1895? Maybe not…

How far is the Moon from the Earth?

Beautiful photographs of a trip around the world looking at human affects on climate change and biodiversity loss.

Timelapse video of wild animals consuming an elephant.

New photographs of the Moon.

Scientists hope to recover Amelia Earhart’s DNA from envelops she liked more than 70 years ago.

Who came first, the walking cactus or the arthropod?

The Oklahoma House voted down a bill that would have allowed teachers to elect not to teach evolution

Science can create the illusion that you have three arms. And you’ll believe it!

Robots train for the world’s first full robot-marathon.

A hedgehog-like mammal uses its quills to communicate.

An 11,500-year-old house is uncovered in Alaska, along with the oldest human remains yet discovered in northern North America.

From the Archive AND Science Wednesday: “Like a Monster from a Lost World”

by Jane Hansen, Research Assistant, Local History Archive, Lesley Drayton, Curator, Local History Archive, and Katie Bowell, Curator of Interpretation

Recently, Local History Archive Research Assistant extraordinaire Jayne Hansen came across this fantastic (and highly editorialized) article from a September 1935 edition of a Fort Collins newspaper:

The big question: What kind of spider did Duane Wetzler find?

There are a few options. In such a sensational case as this, some sort of extraterrestrial creepy crawly is always a possibility, but we can probably rule out an alien-arachnid in this case. Why? Most spiders from space have at least five “evil pair of jaws.” Let’s look at the spider species a little closer to home.

When trying to identify Fort Collins spiders, CSU’s Extension resource “Spiders in the Home” is a great first stop. However, since it was written in 2008, I can understand why it wasn’t used as an original reference. Looking through “Spiders in the Home,” an obvious candidate for Weltzer’s spider of terror emerges: The “Catface” Spider.

Araneus gemmoides

All the clues are there.

  • Diamond-shaped body? Check!
  • Long, furry legs? Check!
  • “Cat’s face” markings on the back (abdomen)? Check!
  • Evil pair of jaws? Well, we won’t call them evil, but…Check!
  • Broad as the diameter of a five cent piece? Since female Catface spiders can be over 1/4″ in diameter, Check!

While perhaps not the prettiest of spiders (Katie’s vote for that category goes to the Mabel Orchard Spider), the catface spider (Araneus gemmoides) is harmless and not nearly the “monster from a lost world” the newspaper post made it out to be.

But you have to wonder, what do you think the paper would have written about the tarantulas that live in the southern part of the state?

Let’s stick with the catface spiders, shall we?

Friday Quick Links

by Katie Bowell, Curator of Cultural Interpretation

A false toe found on the mummy Tabaketenmut

The Chevron Corp. has been ordered to pay at least $8.6 billion in restitution for its pollution of the Amazon.

It’s imaginary…for now…but what if bees worked for the police?

The Montana State Legislature introduces a bill on global warming that describes the climate change as “beneficial.”

How much money would it take to catalog all the remaining unknown organisms on Earth? Over $200 billion U.S.

Speaking of cataloging all life on Earth, have you heard about the Barcode of Life Project?

Some of van Gogh’s vibrant yellows are turning brown. The reason? A chemical reaction never before seen in paint.

An essay on the importance (and irresponsibility) of the language used to describe and discuss “undiscovered” tribes.

Check out Myrmecos, the blog of biologist and wildlife photographer Alex Wild.

You eat over 100 trillion genes every day. Yum!

Some Egyptian mummies have false toes – and it looks like they worked when the people were alive.

And ancient Homo sapiens had spring-loaded heels.

And Lucy’s species, Australopithecus afarensis, appears to have moved more like modern humans than we once thought.

Happy Birthday, Darwin!

by Katie Bowell, Curator of Interpretation

202 years after his birth, and 152 years after the publication of On the Origin of Species, Darwin’s still going strong!

To celebrate Darwin’s birthday, why not:

How would you celebrate Darwin’s big 2-0-2?

Friday Quick Links

by Katie Bowell, Curator of Interpretation

Calcite crystal invisibility

Last Sunday, two spacecrafts’ journey to the Sun that’s taken over five years was completed. For the first time in history, we can see images of the entire Sun.

A new species of psuedoscorpion, Cryptogreagris steinmanni, has been discovered in Colorado.

Did you ever wonder what microorganisms have a comfy and cozy home in your bellybutton? The North Caroline Museum of Natural Sciences gives you a peek!

Documentary filmmaker Werner Herzog, famous for Grizzly Man, has a new film opening in March: Cave of Forgotten Dreams. For the film Herzog was granted unprecedented permission to film inside Chavet Cave, the site of the world’s oldest known cave paintings.

A New York Times editorial piece on the history of the idea of extinction.

The terrible notion that a piece of God’s creation could be swept off the face of the Earth only became a reality on January 21, 1796, and it was a body blow to Western orthodoxy.

Almost all of your hugs last 3 seconds, no matter where you’re from, or how much you like or dislike the person you’re hugging.

A potato by any other name… An international team of scientists has created a guide to the over 600 scientific names used to describe only 4 species of potato.

A new whale hybrid has been discovered in the Arctic.

Speaking of hybrid animals, do you know about the pizzly bear?

A prehistoric toolkit found in the United Arab Emirates has been dated to be 125,000 years old, over 55,000 years before modern humans were thought to have migrated out of North Africa.

Invisibility crystals are making the fantasy of invisibility cloaks a reality.

Dr. Seuss would be proud. Scientists have shown that a non-Newtonian fluid like Seuss’s “oobleck” could have plugged the Macando oil well.

Have you seen the museum’s own “oobleck” in action?

An elegant and eloquent letter to Congress on the state of climate change.

Valentine’s Day – Science Style!

by Katie Bowell, Curator of Cultural Interpretation

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, why not send your sweetie a science-based card to show your love?

Find more science valentines here, here and here.

If you want to do something a little craftier, try folding a 3-D heart valentine.

Instructions here.

And if a paper heart just isn’t enough to show your affections, be sure to stop by the museum this Saturday for our Valentine’s Day Heartbreaker: Heart Dissections program. After all, nothing quite says “love” like dissecting a pig heart together!

The Valentine’s Day Heartbreaker: Heart Dissections program will happen Saturday, February 12,  from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm at the Fort Collins Museum & Discovery Science Center.


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