More Cetaceans

Every North Atlantic right whale has a pattern of callosities unique to that individual. This distinctive pattern provides a very visual, convenient tool that researchers can use to tell one...
Researchers frequently track North Atlantic right whales from ships or from the air. This video of Phoenix (left) was captured in March 2009 on George’s Shoal, east of Chatham, Mass. Learn more about...
“At night, spotted dolphins move offshore into the Gulf Stream’s deep waters in search of squid.” -- Nature's Best photographer, Andrew Sallmon. See more beautiful ocean photos in our slideshow of...
There were fewer than 450 North Atlantic right whales in 2006. Yet it has been illegal to hunt them since 1935. Why haven’t populations increased? Traits that made right whales easy to hunt make them...
"For the last few years, Norwegian herring have migrated to coastal waters outside Tromsø in the months between November and February, and humpbacks and orcas follow them to feast on the massive...
Whales swim, but their ancestors walked. Whales are mammals (like us) whose ancestors lived on land. Life probably began in the ocean and then evolved to colonize the land. Yet the whale’s ancestors...
Sirenians , or seacows, are a group of marine mammals that include manatees and dugongs . Currently, only a single species of seacow is found anywhere in the world. However, the fossil record of...
Since 1987, researchers have been tracking Phoenix. More about whales can be found in our Tale of a whale featured story .
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...
Rachel Caauwe was one of a dozen artists who spent a recent Saturday sketching specimens from the Smithsonian's musky-scented marine mammal collection . Here she's shown drawing the remains of a...
Phoenix swimming with her calf in February 2007 in the Southeast calving grounds off the coasts of Georgia and Florida. Researchers track these highly endangered whales (there are only about 450 of...
A North Atlantic right whale with a deep wound caused by entanglement in fishing gear floats at the surface in the Bay of Fundy on August 1, 1999. Crew members on the International Fund for Animal...
Dr. Maya Yamato and colleague John Ososky dissect the head of a deceased stranded fin whale in the Chesapeake Bay to examine soft tissue associated with the ears. In 2015, Yamato’s team of...
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...
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...
How do right whales size up? North Atlantic Right whales ( Eubalaena glacialis ) are big, but they're not the biggest whales. That distinction goes to the Blue whale ( Balaenoptera musculus ), the...
Paleobiologist Dr. Nicholas Pyenson, Curator of Fossil Marine Mammals for the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, has packed his bags for an expedition to Panama to excavate a fossil...
Whales have existed for million of years. Watch this animation, from the Sant Ocean Hall , to see how they evolved from land-dwellers to the animals we know today. Discover more about whale evolution...
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