Science News

The monarch butterfly is in severe decline. Recent studies show the Western Monarch population, which overwinters here in southern California, has decreased by 99% with less than 30,000 butterflies remaining. With such critically low numbers, now is the time to take action. Read on to learn how to support monarch butterflies right now. Read more.


Becoming a Herpetologist

Posted: November 3, 2020

Herpetology Collections Manager Frank Santana shares how his childhood experiences in nature led to a career studying reptiles and amphibians. This is the first in a series of blog posts focused on protecting the endangered California red-legged frog from extinction. Read more.


Specimens collected in Antarctica have allowed a team of scientists, including Dr. Ashley Poust of The Nat, to update the fossil record of giant birds. The 50 million-year-old fossils belong to an extinct group of ocean-going birds with large tooth-like spikes in their beaks. This discovery may be the oldest example of truly giant flying birds and adds to our understanding of the evolution of coastal ecosystems worldwide. Read more.


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.