Science News

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.


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.


A new way to use collections? Using material from specimens within the Museum's botany collection, researchers may be on the path to a new treatment for Alzheimer's disease - and maybe more. Read more.


Helping Save the Ringtail

Posted: March 6, 2020

We don’t know much about our native ringtail cats, but we can say two things for certain: they are not actually cats (they are in the raccoon family), and they love strawberry jam. The Nat is working with the San Diego Zoo to study these elusive creatures and understand why they keep ending up as roadkill in our foothill areas. Read more.