Articles on Natural history

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The smouldering ruins of a child’s bike lies amongst a property lost to bushfires in the Mid North Coast region of NSW last month. Darren Pateman/AAP

Friday essay: living with fire and facing our fears

Living in a bushfire-prone area means every decision - from plants to parking spots to holidays - is shaped by fire risk. We live and die by the advice we are given, and the advice we ignore.
With a lot not on display, museums may not even know all that’s in their vast holdings. AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Digitizing the vast ‘dark data’ in museum fossil collections

A tiny percentage of museums’ natural history holdings are on display. Very little of these vast archives is digitized and available online. But museums are working to change that.
Brazil’s gutted National Museum now resembles an archaeological ruin itself. AP Photo/Mario Lobao

Lesson from Brazil: Museums are not forever

It's a comforting falsehood that once an artifact joins a museum's collection, it's safe for eternity. Museums face many foes in the fight to preserve – a lack of funds might be the biggest.
This clay facial reconstruction of Kennewick Man, carefully sculpted around the morphological features of his skull, suggests how he may have looked alive nearly 9,000 years ago. Brittney Tatchell, Smithsonian Institution

Kennewick Man will be reburied, but quandaries around human remains won’t

A 9,000-year-old skeleton became a high-profile and highly contested case for the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. How do we respectfully deal with ancient human remains?

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