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Natural History

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Time once more for a look at the animal kingdom and our interactions with the countless species that share our planet. Today's photos include Iranian dog owners under pressure, a bloom of mayflies, Kim Jong-un visiting Breeding Station No. 621, animals fleeing recent fires and floods, and a dachshund receiving acupuncture therapy. These images and many others are part of this roundup of animals in the news from recent weeks, seen from the perspectives of their human observers, companions, captors, and caretakers, part of an ongoing series on animals in the news. [38 photos]

James Hyslop, a Scientific Specialist at Christie's auction house holds a complete sub-fossilised elephant bird egg on March 27, 2013 in London, England. The massive egg, from the now-extinct elephant bird sold for $101,813 at Christie's "Travel, Science and Natural History" sale, on April 24, 2013 in London. Elephant birds were wiped out several hundred years ago. The egg, laid on the island of Madagascar, is believed to date back before the 17th century. (Oli Scarff/Getty Images)     

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It's time once more for a look into the animal kingdom and our interactions with the countless other species that share our planet. Today's photos include researchers dressed in panda costumes, a massage given by an African snail, a 39-pound cat named Meow, a Japanese macaque with hay fever, and orangutans having a playdate using FaceTime on an iPad. These images and many others are part of this roundup of animals in the news from recent weeks, seen from the perspectives of their human observers, companions, captors, and caretakers, part of an ongoing series on animals in the news. [41 photos]

Polar bear cub Anori explores the outdoor enclosure at the zoo in Wuppertal, Germany, on Monday, April 23, 2012. Anori was born on January 4 and is becoming a visitor's highlight. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

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by Claire O'Neill

Smithsonian museum specialist Sandra Raredon has been making radiographs, or X-ray images, for some 25 years. And although she doesn't necessarily consider herself an artist, per se, she's not surprised to see her work on display in that context. "I wanted people to see that they're not only scientific, but they're beautiful as well," she says on the phone.

Credit: Sandra J. Raredon/National Museum of Natural History/Smithsonian Institution.

A new exhibit at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History lies right at the intersection of art and science, showcasing the inherent beauty of skeletons — that is, fish skeletons.

Before the invention of X-rays, the only way to study a creature's insides was by dissection. X-rays are a quicker, cleaner and nondestructive way to learn about diet, growth and evolution. The exhibit, currently in Washington, D.C., will be traveling the country until 2015. But hey, as long as you're near a computer, check out these interactive exterior-interior photos in Smithsonian magazine.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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