The science of classification, specifically the biological taxonomy of organisms, organizes how humans see and study the life that surrounds us. For museum-goers, observing a turtle skull, seaweed leaves, or a cabinet drawer full of butterflies can open up a whole new world of curiosity and inquiry.

Scientists and curators, who have studied the collections for years, dive more deeply into the relationships and connections between these documented wonders of nature. Their familiarity with the specimens can illuminate new research questions and new ways of understanding life on Earth. Herpetology Curator Darrel Frost explains in Shelf Life – Turtles and Taxonomy.

In case you missed it: Shelf Life – 33 Million Things. On AMNH.org: A Brief Yet Discerning History of Scientific Classification.

Plus: more specimens and more museums.

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