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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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The Museum’s scientists analyze specimens collected in the field and donated to the Museum. Our biologists study the relationships between organisms and their environmental adaptations. Our anthropologists study the artifacts of ancient and contemporary societies, and the remains of our distant ancestors to learn about human culture and evolution. Our geologists study the formation and processes of the planet.

Museum researchers today study specimens and artifacts using high–tech scanning equipment and DNA analysis. As new technologies develop, specimens collected in the past can provide unexpected information.

Photo from the Smithsonian Institution Archives
Photo from the Smithsonian Institution Archives
Associate curator Doris Cochran and museum aide Barry Hampton studying specimens in the herpetology collection, 1954
Photo by Chip Clark, Smithsonian Institution
Photo by Chip Clark, Smithsonian Institution
Bruno Frohlich, physical anthropologist, studying an Egyptian mummy with a CT scanner, which allows scientists to look inside an object without destroying it, 2000
In 2008, Museum scientists published 703 books and articles based on their research.

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