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AMNH  Official Instagram page of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City


The staff members of the Division of Invertebrate Zoology at the Museum actively study and archive a massive collection of non-vertebrate animals. Amazingly, invertebrates make up 95% of all animal species on Earth. The Division houses more than 24 million specimens, which comprises about 500,000 species. Most of these specimens are terrestrial arthropods---which include insects and arachnids---like the ones shown here. Research centers around field exploration, the collections, and laboratory studies using morphology and DNA sequences to examine the evolutionary relationships of these remarkable creatures. #amnh #insects #butterflies #curiosity #zoology #nature #science #specimens

This year’s Museum Week honors women integral to the development of museums around the world. Anthropologist, explorer, writer, teacher, and overall trailblazer Margaret Mead---seen here in her USPS commemorative stamp---taught Americans the value of looking at other cultures to understand the complexity of the human experience. She joined the Museum in 1926 at the age of 25 as an assistant curator. Two years later, she published her best-selling book Coming of Age in Samoa, which introduced readers to the importance of looking carefully and open-mindedly at other cultures, and which is still taught in anthropology classrooms today. In 1942, Dr. Mead was promoted to associate curator, and she worked in the Museum's Division of Anthropology until her death in 1978. Her work is largely responsible for the acquisition of the treasures in the hall that bears her name. #amnh #margaretmead #womeninscience #museumweek #trailblazers #anthropology #culture #stamp

Happy Solstice! At 10:24 pm MDT today the sun will be directly over the Tropic of Cancer at 23.5 degrees latitude North, making it the longest day of the year at points north of that line. In those regions, the earth's tilt toward the sun is at its strongest point. So why, you may ask, isn't it also the hottest day of the year? Although Earth's Northern Hemisphere is absorbing more sunlight today, it takes time for that energy to get released into the atmosphere. The lag leads to the hottest days of the year often occurring in mid-July or later. Photo: NASA. #summersolstice #summersolstice2017 #solstice #amnh #astronomy #naturalhistory #nasa

It's Trilobite Tuesday! Soon after the fall of communism in the late-1980s, a veritable onslaught of trilobite specimens began to emanate out of the Wolchow River region near St. Petersburg, Russia, and onto world stage. The preponderance of this material was being drawn from a series of geological layers collectively known as the Asery Horizon which had formed 450 million years ago when this area of Europe was still covered by a warm inland sea.
These Ordovician-age trilobites were noteworthy for their thick, caramel-colored calcite shells as well as their exceptionally three-dimensional preservation. Some specimens featured exotic shapes and sizes while others presented carapaces covered by an array of pointed spines. Equally as impressive, many of the over 100 trilobite species that have so far been discovered and described from this horizon had previously been unseen by the scientific community… at least at this level of completeness.
By the mid-'90s, these magnificent arthropods were being exhibited in museums, with one in particular-- Neoasaphus kowalewski-- drawing particular attention due to the fact that it featured eyes sitting atop stalks over two inches long. #trilobitetuesday #trilobite #trilobites #amnh #naturalhistory #fossils #fossil #stpetersburg #russia_in_nature

Keeping dioramas looking great over decades requires a unique convergence of science and art that incorporates sculpture, painting, and lighting design along with animal biology, botany, and history. Each piece showcases precise depictions of geographical locations and careful, anatomically correct mounting of specimens. Restoring the Hall of North American Mammals in 2012 was quite a large task, with more than 40 dioramas, which include everything from cottontail rabbits to the iconic Alaskan Brown Bear seen here. #amnh #brownbear #alaskanbrownbear #alaska #diorama #dioramas #restoration #science #nature #bear #realism #wildlife

Happy Father’s Day from the Museum! In the spirit of the day, we’re celebrating dads both human and non-human. When we look at the natural world, it’s hard to find a more devoted father than the emperor penguin. After the female lays a single egg, it is the male who dutifully watches over and cares for it throughout the brutal Antarctic winter while the female returns to the sea to feed. After she returns, Dad and Mom both invest heavily in caring for their chick as it grows to adulthood. Photo: Christopher Michael. #amnh #emperorpenguin #fathersday #dad #father #penguin #antarctica #nature

It’s that time of year again-- Cephalopod Week! And this year, they’ve really got their tentacles in everything at the Museum. Check out this spooky print of the vampire squid along with several other striking vintage illustrations of cephalopods in our special exhibit, Opulent Oceans, on display now in the LeFrak Corridor gallery. The vampire squid is not only not a vampire, but it isn’t even a squid. It’s actually a modern representative of an ancient link between squid and octopus, and the only living member of the order of cephalopods known as Vampyromorphida. It has remained largely unchanged for hundreds of millions of years, as it is so perfectly adapted to its unique lifestyle in the deepest reaches of the sea. Also, arguably our most famous cephalopod (or infamous if you’re a sperm whale), the Giant Squid in our Milstein Hall of Ocean Life, just underwent a cleaning and restoration that needs to be seen to be believed. #amnh #vampiresquid #cephalopod #cephalopodweek #opulentoceans #ivanttosuckyourblood #vampire #vintageprint #nature #oceanlife #tentacles #squid #octopus

The Sperm Whale and Giant Squid, one of the most famous dioramas in the Museum’s collection, underwent a special cleaning today. Located in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life, the scene portrays the two titans locked in a life-and-death struggle in the darkest depths of the ocean. The diorama is dimly lit, in order to accurately convey the feel of that ecosystem, a cryptic realm where sunlight simply can’t reach. Amazingly for a mammal (which are air-breathing), sperm whales dive to these incredible depths in pursuit of prey, which we now know can include the giant squid. These gargantuan cephalopods are notoriously elusive, and up until 2005, not a single living individual had ever been captured on camera! #thesquidandthewhale #spermwhale # amnh #giantsquid #whale #squid #diorama #ocean #deepsea

In honor of Nature Photography Day, we give you this stunning image of the praying mantis. When photographers head out into nature with their cameras, the tendency is to seek out the big and to overlook the small. Often they’re on the lookout for that breathtaking landscape, or that lucky shot of some large fauna that might dart across their lens. But as is evident in the formidable glare of this steely mantid, there is great drama to be found in the realm of the tiny as well. Several species of mantis will often decide to eat her mate just after—or even during—mating. This grisly possibility does not seem to deter males from reproducing. Photo: Gunjan Pandey. #amnh #prayingmantis #naturephotographyday #insect #face #nature #life #mantis #naturephotography #microcosmos

Recognize these guys? You should---they’re family. And today is Family History Day! With that in mind, we invite you to contemplate your own family tree, which includes your cousins, the great apes. Humans, chimps, and bonobos (pictured here) descended from a single ancestor species that lived six or seven million years ago; which is practically yesterday in the grand sweep of geologic time.
As humans and chimps gradually evolved from a common ancestor, their DNA, passed from generation to generation, changed too. In fact, many of these DNA changes led to differences between human and chimp appearance and behavior. Despite these differences, amazingly, bonobos and humans still share 99% of the same genetic material to this very day.
Photo by Eric Kilby #familyhistory #familyhistoryday #bonobos #amnh #familyhistoryday #chimpanzee #nature #dna #greatapes #ape #primates

It's time for Trilobite Tuesday! The fossils of the Silurian-age Rochester Shale in upstate New York were originally noted during the construction of the Erie Canal, a project that went on from 1814 until 1825. At the time, the discovery of these 430 million year old specimens caused as much confusion and consternation among the scientific community as they did answers. Quite simply, no one had ever previously seen a treasure trove of material quite like this, and few - if any -- knew what to make of these fossil riches.
Some of the earliest scientific descriptions of many ancient species were based on discoveries made within this renowned fauna. The site has long been famous for its outstanding preservation and abundance of invertebrate life, with more than 200 described species including corals, bryozoans, brachiopods, bivalves -- as well as over a dozen recognized trilobite species, including Bumastus ioxus, like the large, 8 cm example pictured here. #trilobitetuesday #trilobite #trilobites #amnh #nyhistory #rochesterny #rochester #eriecanal #silurian

EVOLUTION OF A DIORAMA: In 1939, Paul Wright developed a small model of the American Bison and Pronghorn diorama. It depicts mid-1800's Wyoming when prairies teemed with tens of millions of bison, and served as a roadmap for the final diorama launched in the Hall of North American Mammals in 1942.

Several years ago, the grasses in the diorama showed signs of brittleness and dryness-- so much so that they would crumble if you came in contact with them. The photo in the bottom right shows the restoration process that took place in 2012 in the Hall of North American Mammals, which included carefully collecting, crating, and shipping real Buffalograss and Gamagrass. #amnh #naturalhistory #bison #wildlife #wildlifephotography #diorama #dioramas #historybuff #nycphotography #nychistory

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