More Cetaceans

This may look like a mane of hair, but it’s actually baleen from a North Atlantic Right Whale. Although it looks soft and furry, dried baleen is quite stiff, which made it useful for creating...
The fringed baleen plates are easy to observe as this North Atlantic right whale skims the water’s surface while it feeds. Many baleen whales suck in as much water was possible, and then push it out...
The yellow features in this 3-D reconstruction of a fin whale fetal skull represent the early developmental stages of ear bones, characteristics that are extremely rare, fragile and nearly impossible...
Nick Pyenson, curator of fossil marine mammals at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, holds an arm bone from a "toothed" mysticete from Vancouver Island. This is the second specimen...
A right whale opens its mouth wide, revealing huge plates of baleen hanging from its upper jaw. There are between 200 and 270 baleen plates on each side of a right whale's upper jaw. They work like a...
Dr. Stefan Huggenberger from the University of Cologne explains sound production in sperm whales in "Moby Dick's Boom Box: Nasal Complex of Sperm Whales," a presentation at the Smithsonian's National...
Bottlenose dolphins ( Tursiops truncatus ) are very social animals, and often travel and hunt in groups called pods. The most common is a nursery group of 5-20 dolphins made up of females and their...
A team from the Center for Coastal Studies works to free a one-year-old right whale from the fishing ropes wrapped and knotted around its body and flippers. The whale is Kingfisher, #3346 in the...
Paeleobiologist Dr. Nicholas Pyenson, Curator of Fossil Marine Mammals for the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), set out with Jorge Velez-Juarbe, NMNH Research Student and Ph...
The rough patches of skin known as callosities occur in unique patterns on all North Atlantic right whales and help researchers identify and track individual whales. This whale is named Phoenix. More...
An adult giant squid struggles for survival in an encounter with a sperm whale - its only known predator. The whale will probably overpower and eat the squid. More about the giant squid can be found...
Phoenix, the North Atlantic right whale whose replica hangs from the ceiling of the Sant Ocean Hall at the National Museum of Natural History, was sighted with a calf off of Amelia Island in Florida...
This photograph was snapped as Phoenix swam in the Gulf of Maine in July 2008. More about the right whale can be found in our Tale of a Whale featured story .
This close-up photo of a right whale's head shows dozens of hitchhikers—tiny crustaceans known as whale lice, or cyamid amphipods. They live on the rough patches of skin (known as callosities) on...
This family tree shows how the ancestors of whales moved gradually from land to sea. Early whales took advantage of abundant marine resources, feeding on the ocean's fish, squid and other larger food...
On a beach in Piña, Panama the tide is rolling out. Faint outlines of skeletal remains rise above the sand. Smithsonian scientists Nicholas Pyenson and Aaron O'Dea along with a team of students...
The evolution of whales represents one of the great stories in macroevolution. It's a narrative that has mostly benefitted from an extraordinary series of fossils recovered from rocks around the...
“I took this photograph of spinner dolphins in calm waters off the Ogasawara Islands, an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean about 600 miles south of Tokyo.When the sun briefly broke through the clouds...
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