Science News

This is Fall in San Diego

Posted: October 3, 2020

We may not have stereotypical “sweater weather” or the newsworthy autumnal color displays of the Midwest, but fall still brings change to San Diego. We may not notice, but plants and animals do. Look beyond your weather app to notice the natural phenomena this season has to offer. Read more.


A recent paper presents data about the first use of chickens for food in the state of California during the 1700s. At the San Diego Presidio, women may have been involved in small-scale husbandry of chickens to benefit their subsistence diet, as well as a possible source for barter or income. Zooarchaeologists used bones from our collection as points of comparison in their research. Read more.


An unusual fossil deposit containing skeletal remains of extinct mammals—including camels, oreodonts, rodents, and possibly a large carnivore—was recently unearthed by The Nat's Paleo Services team at a construction site for new U.S. Land Port of Entry in Otay Mesa. Read more.


South Korean paleontologist accesses 3D models of dinosaur fossils that were collected by Charles Sternberg and housed in The Nat’s collection, resulting in publication of two recent scientific papers. Read more.


Southern California is known for its endless summer. While it may seem that the weather doesn’t change much, the wildlife activity certainly does. As “June gloom” turns into August, typically our hottest month of the year, you may need to look beyond your weather app to notice the natural phenomena that occur each summer. Read more.


We thought it was extinct, but one of the lost plants we were searching for in Baja California was rediscovered right in our own backyard.  Read more.


With sunny skies and near perfect temperatures almost year-round, it is easy to assume that San Diego does not have seasons. Our wildlife would beg to differ. Between March and June, as warmer weather and brilliant flowers sweep through the region, look beyond your weather app to notice the natural phenomena that occur each spring. Read more.


San Diego is synonymous with seafood—especially tuna. Museum volunteers are preparing two specimens that will allow people to see these impressive animal skeletons in incredible detail. The specimens also serve as a useful tool in understanding the lives of native people.  Read more.


Natural Selection in Action

Posted: April 20, 2020

In the past 80 years, the plumage of the Horned Lark has undergone a relatively rapid color change, which scientists believe is due to the conversion of Imperial Valley desert into farmland, which has caused the landscape to change from light to dark. This could represent the first example known among birds evolving different colors within recorded history. Read more.


Return of the Frogs

Posted: April 9, 2020

President and CEO Judy Gradwohl shares a first-person account of a recent milestone for conservation: I had arrived early at the release site in case the egg transport went faster than anyone anticipated. This quiet overcast day marked the culmination of many years of hard work to return California red-legged frogs to their historic range in Southern California, where they have been absent for about 20 years. Read more.