More Smithsonian collections

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 collections with...
In 1895, two Smithsonian scientists described a new kind of deep sea creature, which they named the “whalefish.” Little did they know, this fish would become one of the prime suspects in an...
This male giant squid is on display in the Sant Ocean Hall at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History . It measures about 2.7 meters (9 feet) long and weighs a little more than 45.5...
The Smithsonian has more whale skulls and skeletons than any other collection in the world. This photo provides a small glimpse of the amazing variety of skulls and skeletons available for study...
As soon as Dampier set foot in Australia, he began making observations and collecting specimens of plants, which he carefully pressed between the pages of books to be studied by the “ingenious” and “...
The robotic arm of a Pisces submersible collects a gold coral colony ( Gerardia sp.) during a research cruise in the Hawaiian Islands. Ocean scientists have radiocarbon-dated some Gerardia specimens...
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...
This map shows the localities represented by the Gulf of Mexico collection of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. The Smithsonian has been collaborating with the...
Models of a giant squid and an octopus hang over display cases in the "Lower Invertebrates" exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution Building ("the Castle") in 1901. The Smithsonian has been conducting...
A behind the scenes look at the NMNH ocean-related collections and their importance to research and discovery.
An array of teeth from the sand tiger shark Carcharias taurus . The Smithsonian has the largest collection of shark teeth in the world, with more than 90,000 fossil shark teeth. More about sharks and...
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...
A specimen from the Smithsonian’s squid collection and videos of a mystery squid helped scientists identify a new family of deep sea squid—the Magnapinnidae, known as the bigfin squids. More about...
These corals from the Smithsonian collections are Stephanocyathus (A.) spiniger , a solitary, deep-water stony coral species. Around 74% of all deep-water corals are solitary, living as individual...
The fossil tooth whorl of the ancient shark Helicoprion , dating back 290 million years before present. For a long time, people didn't know what the shark looked like—but, thanks to a CT scan of a...
Within the Department of Invertebrate Zoology, scientists conduct original research on all 30 major invertebrate animal groups (phyla) of the world (except insects), and are stewards for the 35...
This deep sea creature, the whalefish ( Cetomimidae ), has a whale-like body, a gaping mouth, no fins or scales and a deep lateral line, which detects vibrations in the water. The first specimens...
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...
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