A walnut specimen collected by Hans Sloane from the Caribbean, along with a description reading: ‘1,716. An Walnutt from Caribes?’

Historians Expose Early Scientists’ Debt to the Slave Trade

Key plant and animal specimens arrived in Europe on slavers’ ships

A Blizzard of Prescriptions

Three recent books explore different aspects of opiate addiction in America.
Fingerprints taken by William James Herschel (ca. 1859).

The Surprising History (and Future) of Fingerprints

Our identity is mapped at our fingertips, but also, maybe, our individual fate.

The Turn-of-the-Century Pigeons That Photographed Earth from Above

In 1907, a patent application for the pigeon camera was submitted.
A giant ground sloth (Eremotherium mirabile).

Fossilized Human Footprint Found Nestled in a Giant Sloth Footprint

An incredibly preserved set of tracks tell the story of an ancient hunt.

Electricity and Allegiance

Benjamin Franklin introduced the magical picture, an experiment that played on the king's beloved image and his deadly force.
Denali and Wonder Lake in Denali National Park, Alaska, photographed by Ansel Adams (1948).

Solved: A Decades-Old Ansel Adams Mystery

The answer was hidden in the shadows.
The Wonderful World of Chemistry by DuPont at the 1964 New York World's Fair.

Time-Bombing the Future

Synthetics created in the 20th century have become an evolutionary force, altering human biology and the web of life.
Symmes Hole, from Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 1882.

Hollow Words

Exploring John Cleves Symmes Jr.’s obsession with a hollow Earth.
The ExxonMobil Corporation's logo is displayed atop a Dallas area gas station in 2006.

Exxon Had Some Insane Visions For Saving the Planet

Giant mirrors, ocean whitening, and other suggestions from the company's in-house engineers in 1997.
Drug overdose deaths in six Ohio counties from 2010 to 2017.

Drug Deaths in America Are Rising Faster Than Ever

New data compiled from hundreds of health agencies reveals the extent of the drug overdose epidemic.
A field technician excavates an amputated limb in 2015.

Civil War Battlefield 'Limb Pit' Reveals Work Of Combat Surgeons

Bones uncovered at the Manassas National Battlefield Park provide insights into surgery during the Civil War.