Smithsonian collections

An illustration of a giant squid (Architeuthis dux)

Giant Squid: One Species at a Time

How do you get two dead giant squid the size of a school bus from a fishing boat in Spain to Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.? Call in the U.S...

Clyde Roper: Squid Hunter - Architeuthis

Dr. Clyde Roper recounts the tale of his encounter with a giant squid specimen ( Architeuthis dux) that was found washed up on a Massachusetts beach in this excerpt from "Eyeball to Eyeball," an...
The "Lower Invertebrates" exhibit in Smithsonian Institution Building in 1901 included models of a giant squid and an octopus.

Still Blue After a Century of Ocean Science and Exploration

The "Lower Invertebrates" exhibit in Smithsonian Institution Building in 1901 included models of a giant squid and an octopus. Credit: Smithsonian Archives This year marks 100 years since the National Museum of Natural History...

Smithsonian Collections on Google Earth

This video tour gives you a glimpse of how to explore Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History collections using Google Earth. To take your own tour, download Google Earth and dive down to...
Seven of the newly discovered Starksia blennies, small fish with elongated bodies

Scientists Discover Seven New Species of Fish

Using modern genetic analysis combined with traditional examination of morphology, scientists discovered that what were once thought to be three species of blenny in the genus Starksia are actually 10 distinct species of the...
After ocean scientists sort deep-sea coral samples into their different types, they measure and photograph the specimens.

Studying Deep-Sea Corals

What happens to deep-sea coral samples after they are collected? In this image gallery, see some of the ways ocean scientists sort, measure, photograph, and study them. Learn more in the multimedia feature "...
Smithsonian researchers eat a meal in preparation for a fossil excavation

A Squalodontid Success

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 descend...
A submersible explores the deep reefs off of Curacao in the Caribbean.

Summer in a Sub: DROP Down to Discovery

Dr. Carole Baldwin , a research zoologist and fish expert with the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, gives viewers an inside-look at the Deep Reef Observation Project (DROP). You never know where following...
John Paxton, a scientist who studies marine life, looks into a microscope

Examine the Clues

Ichthyologist John R. Paxton of the Australian Museum identifies freshly caught lanternfishes. Paxton was on the team that solved the whalefish mystery. Credit: R. Cornejo In 2003, a team of Japanese scientists analyzed the...

Deep-Sea Research 100 Years Ago on the US Fisheries Steamer Albatross

The US Fish Commission Steamer Albatross (1882-1921) sailed approximately one million miles, in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and collected millions of organisms. The Albatross had a special and vital link with Smithsonian science,...
An illustration of a recently discovered species of Monodontid, Bohaskaia monodontoides, and its beluga and narwhale relatives

Smithsonian Scientists Describe a 'New' Fossil Whale

A reconstruction of a new fossil beluga relative, Bohaskaia monodontoides , described by Smithsonian scientists, is pictured in the foreground. Its living relatives, the beluga and narwhal, are illustrated left to right in the...

Clyde Roper On the Over-Sized Anatomy of the Giant Squid

Dr. Clyde Roper discusses the fascinating anatomy of the giant squid ( Architeuthis dux) in this excerpt of "Eyeball to Eyeball," an episode of Errol Morris' First Person television series. Watch Architeuthis and Eyeball...

The Smithsonian Marine Collections

A behind the scenes look at the NMNH ocean-related collections and their importance to research and discovery.
Turbinolia stephensoni

Ocean Objects of Wonder

An unidentified earplug from the National Museum of Natural History collection. The light and dark layers come from a build up of keratin and lipids and can be used to estimate whale age. Credit:...
A boat with divers in Clifton Cove

Wood Under Sand: The Search for A Slave Shipwreck

Archaeologists working on the site of the São José. Credit: Jon Sharfman, courtesy Slave Wrecks Project by Danielle Hall An untimely storm with whipping gusts of wind and tumultuous waves, a sweeping current that...
A screenshot of some of Smithsonian's marine story windows in Google Earth

What Lives in the Gulf of Mexico? Exploring Marine Collections on Google Earth

When he was 10 years old, Stephen Cairns lived in Cuba where he kept a collection of butterflies and sea shells. When his family moved to Louisiana, he could bring only one of the...