Science Blog

Museum scientists go on expeditions to remote areas of the Baja California Peninsula to study and better understand the biological diversity of areas that are not well documented. One such expedition took place in November 2017 in one of Baja California Sur’s most spectacular cardón forests. Read more.


Rediscovering Lost Species

Posted: January 16, 2019

When plants or animals are so rare, we don’t even know if they need protection. So knowing they exist is the first step in conservation. Over the past couple of years, our researchers succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations at rediscovering lost species. Read more.


Scientists working in Baja California resurrected a species from the ashes of extinction, and are now working with local agencies on a conservation plan. The San Quintin kangaroo rat was held as an example of a modern extinction due to agricultural conversion in the San Quintín area of Baja California. The animal had not been seen for 30 years, until its recent rediscovery. Read a first-hand account by the researchers.  Read more.


In February 2017, the Museum received word that a manuscript written by staff paleontologists and outside colleagues about the discovery of mastodon fossils showing signs of human activity had been accepted for publication in the scientific journal Nature. As expected, the April 27 publication and announcement garnered widespread media coverage and stirred dialog within the scientific community. Some have been supportive and consider the hypothesis compelling and one that should not be ruled out. Others have dismissed it as questionable science or outlined why various interpretations of evidence are wrong.  Read more.


Within the walls of the Museum are stored close to 9 million specimens in our combined collections, which represent an unparalleled treasure trove of local plants, animals, and fossils amassed over a span of more than 140 years. They tell a unique and rich story about the historical ebb and flow of our regional natural environment.  Read more.


Researchers at the San Diego Natural History Museum, along with experts from Mexico and Brazil, have described a new species of large cave-dwelling spider, the Sierra Cacachilas wandering spider (Califorctenus cacachilensis). Related to the notoriously venomous Brazilian wandering spider (Phoneutria fera), the Sierra Cacachilas wandering spider was first discovered on a collaborative research expedition into a small mountain range outside of La Paz in Baja California Sur, Mexico. Read more.


Finding dinosaur fossils is not something even veteran paleontologists experience every day. Our crews find fossils on about half of the job sites they work, but they simply don’t encounter many dinosaurs here in southern California. It’s not to say these beasts didn’t roam the area—surely they did—but the circumstances for the preservation of their remains were not ideal here. Read more.


Dr. Jon Rebman, Museum curator and the Mary & Dallas Clark Endowed Chair of Botany, spent 10 months in La Paz, Baja California Sur (BCS) as part of a work assignment. While there, he increased binational collaboration with Mexican scientists and students, conducted extensive botanical research in the southern part of the Baja California peninsula, and wrote a new bilingual, plant field guide for the Cape region of BCS.  Read more.


The death of an animal as majestic as a whale is a sad event. However, as Museum scientists interested in documenting the natural biodiversity of our region--and in increasing our understanding of the evolutionary and ecological history of that biodiversity--we view such events as learning opportunities. Read more.  Read more.


In 1908, the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at Berkeley mounted an expedition to the San Jacinto Mountain region, pioneering the exploration of southern California’s biology. On the 100th Anniversary of this expedition, from 2008 to 2010, the San Diego Natural History Museum retraced its path to see how the area’s wildlife has changed over the last century. This blog details one of the key findings of the San Jacinto centennial resurvey, the Gray Vireo.   Read more.