science division projects

Science Division Videos

Learn more about the research conducted at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science!

See more videos from the Denver Museum of Nature & Science at on YouTube.

Nasca Textile with Cats

Nasca (or Nazca) textile! The Nasca people lived on the south coast of Peru from roughly 100 BCE to 700 CE. This is a painted textile. Most textiles we see from ancient Peru are made of fibers that were dyed, spun into yarn, and then woven into a cloth. Designs were most commonly created by weaving together different color yarn. Often weavers created incredibly complex patterns that required great mathematical skill. This textile is different—but not uncommon for the Nasca people. First, an entirely white textile was created, and afterward, paint was applied.

 

Habitable Planet Building

Earth is the only place in the entire universe with a biosphere that is uniquely suited to keeping us alive. What properties of the planet allows it to support life? Why have worlds like Mars and Venus, which started off similar to Earth, evolve to their present uninhabitable states? Explore the topic of habitability with Dr. KaChun Yu in our and other solar systems.

SUE the T. rex

Listen to Curator of Dinosaurs, Joe Sertich, discuss the life of this fearsome fossil.

Animal Anatomy

Are you an adorer of animals? Delighted by dissection, or fascinated by feathers and fur? Then you have something in common with Andie Carrillo, Zoology Preparator. Andie works behind the scenes of the museum, studying animal specimens to learn about their lives and environments from their physical characteristics, and preparing each specimen to be kept in our collection and studied by other researchers for years to come.

The Love Bugs

The humorous and poignant documentary "The Love Bugs" explores the love of nature and the nature of love--and what it means to completely devote oneself to both. Over the course of 60 years Charlie and Lois O'Brien traveled to more than 67 countries and quietly amassed the world’s largest private collection of insects. In their twilight decade, the two renowned, married entomologists decide to give their collection away. Watch the film before the event on POV, then join curator of entomology Dr. Frank Krell, Nico Franz, Professor and Biocollections Director at Arizona State University, and special guest Lois O'Brien to explore the joy of studying bugs.

 

 

Living with a Murderer

A Spider Ant Guest that Eats its Hosts

Most predators of arthropods (insects and their relatives) avoid eating ants. Ants are little chemical factories filled with noxious substances, they taste bad, and when perturbed, they attack en masse. For most arthropod predators, it just is not worth attacking ants. Thus, if you are a tasty arthropod morsel, it is beneficial (in an evolutionary sense) to look like an ant, to act like an ant, or even to live in the vicinity of ants. Join DMNS curator Dr. Paula Cushing to talk about spiders that have evolved close affinity to ants.

Behind the Scenes

Join archaeology curator Dr. Michele Koons and anthropology collections manager Dominique Alhambra for a tour in the Anthropology collections. We'll visit objects from regions and cultures around the world.

A Smell to Remember

A smell can transport us instantly back to childhood, bringing to mind long-forgotten memories in an instant. Odors are capable of evoking powerful memories, and inciting strong physical and emotional reactions. However, most people struggle to describe smells more than our other senses because we process them differently in our brain. Learn from research manager Tiffany Nuessle why smell is potentially the most underrated sense we have.

Surfing Sandstones

The Cretaceous Codell Sandstone is one of our region's important rock units because it is a major oil and gas reservoir in Colorado and Wyoming, and a water aquifer in Kansas and Nebraska. Yet we know little about how and when these strata formed, and what they tell us about the Western Interior Seaway that once blanketed much of the American West. Join Dr. James Hagadorn, Tim & Kathryn Ryan Curator of Geology at the Museum, for this episode of Science Division Live.

 

Shrews - Live Fast, Die Young!

Shrews are among the smallest mammals on the planet, but a large part of many ecosystems including those in Colorado. Stuffing a high-energy lifestyle into a short lifespan, these voracious predators must eat constantly to stay alive. In Colorado we have nine species of shrews, many of which can be sometimes difficult to identify. To better understand the diversity and distribution of shrews in the state, we’ve been using genetics to ID the shrews in our museum collection. This has led to some interesting findings.  

Interview with Dr. Tyler Lyson

On our state's largest day of philanthropy, we're celebrating all you've done to support us. Join us for an interview with Dr. Tyler Lyson, Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology, and a live look at Tyler's recent groundbreaking scientific discovery out of Colorado Springs.

 

Rehousing Demonstration

Part 1

Join assistant collections manager Jeff Phegley to learn how collection items are housed and put into our collections cabinets, all part of the process that goes into preserving the collection items.

Check out Part 2 here.

Dogs! Episode 1

We're celebrating the dog days of summer with a Science Live presentation for the dogs. Dr. Erin Baxter, Acting Curator of Anthropology, has multiple stories about archaeology and dogs using artifacts from our collections and beyond.

 

Bees 101

There are about 20,000 be species in the world, and 970 of them can be found here in Colorado. But do you know what makes bees different from wasps? What separates solitary and social bees?  Learn more from Science Division vice president Dr. Gabriela Chavarria.

Devastation of an Exiled Wren

Travel with ornithology curator Dr. Garth Spellman to the remote oceanic island of San Benedicto and learn about the rise and fall of its only resident landbird - the San Benedicto Island Rock Wren.

1918 Flu

With Museum Archivist and Enactor

In 1918, devastating flu pandemic swept over the world. Masks, cleaning protocols, resistance, and caskets became part of the norm. Health care workers, families, communities and government fought valiantly to stop the spread. What was it like in Denver, at the Museum and in communities around Colorado? Our Museum archivist, Sam Schiller, and one historical enactor discuss and imagine.

Fun Tricks with Pinecones

Did you know that conifer cones close when they get wet? This keeps the seeds inside the cone so they can disperse better and much farther away from the parent tree on a dry, windy day.  Learn more about these amazing plants with Dr. Kathryn Reusch.

Tracks and Scat

Poop. Yeah, we said it...POOP! Talk poop with our collections team as they relate images of recent track/scat findings to collection pieces and discuss just why poop is so important. Gather your scat knowledge and prepare for a stinky discussion. Giggles permitted.

Vigango Repatriation

Join Senior Curator of Archaeology Dr. Steve Nash for a brief discussion about the Museum's decade-long and ultimately successful effort to repatriate sacred grave posts the Mijikenda of Kenya.

Beyond Bizarre

The Crazy Beast of Madagascar

An international team of scientists led by Dr. David Krause, senior curator of vertebrate paleontology, have discovered a new fossil mammal, Adalatherium hui, from the island of Madagascar. First published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature, this new mammal is represented by an articulated and well-preserved skeleton, the most complete for any mammal from the entire Mesozoic of the southern hemisphere. Adalatherium, which literally means "crazy beast," belongs to a lesser known group of mammals called gondwanatherians that previously were represented by only a single skull and isolated jaws and teeth. The skeleton has many features that are uniquely bizarre, consistent with a history of isolation on the island of Madagascar for over 20 million years. Join Krause for a presentation about this amazing discovery and learn how his work in Madagascar inspired him to give back to the local community.

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