Science Blog

The flat-tailed horned lizard has the most limited distribution of any horned lizard species in the United States, and its habitats have been impacted by development, off-road vehicle activity, and more. Using records of where the animal has been observed, coupled with data from the museum’s historic collections, scientists can understand the environmental factors that shape patterns of biodiversity and learn what the lizard needs to survive.  Read more.


Professionally trained researchers can’t be everywhere at all times. Citizen science projects, including one focused on the invasive shot hole borer beetle, provide opportunities for regular people to contribute to science. Read more.


Camp Pendleton retains an incredible amount of biodiversity, including insects and spiders that are critical to ecosystem health. Museum scientists are partnering with the U.S. Marine Corps to study and document them, with the goal of creating a baseline inventory of what lives where. Read more.


Bridges make great bat roosts. But what happens with the bridge is crumbling and needs repair? That’s where our scientists come in. Read more.


Who doesn’t love dune bugs? Our entomologists are studying insects in the dunes of Baja California to gather data that will help inform conservation decisions around these incredibly unique—but potentially threated—ecosystems. Read more.


Museum scientists are taking action to restore California Red-legged Frog habitat in Baja California in response to massive declines in their population. Read more.


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.