More Smithsonian collections

This year marks 100 years since the National Museum of Natural History opened its doors, but the Smithsonian’s work in marine science dates back more than 160 years. In fact, our marine collection —...
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 Smithsonian's Department of Invertebrate Zoology has a collection of over 57,000 specimens from over 5,700 sites in the Gulf of Mexico, which are now catalogued on Google Earth . Below is a tiny...
During the late Cretaceous period, Kansas was covered by a vast sea. There, scientists have found fossils of Squalicorax sharks (also called crow sharks) that lived 70-80 million years ago. They were...
As Dampier studied the plants he encountered in Australia, he wrote that they were “for the most part unlike any I had seen elsewhere.” In fact, nearly all the plants Dampier observed were entirely...
Smithsonian zoologist Dr. Steve Cairns named and described this deep-sea coral species, Stephanocyathus paliferus, which is now preserved in the collections of the National Museum of Natural History...
As these models show, traditional canoes came in a variety of shapes and designs. Some of the models even include paddlers. More about raven spirit can be found in our Raven Spirit featured story.
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...
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...
A life-size, meticulously detailed model of the North Atlantic right whale Phoenix hangs in the Smithsonian’s Sant Ocean Hall in the National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC. More about...
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...
In 2003, a team of Japanese scientists analyzed the DNA of tapetails and whalefish. The results suggested that these two very different looking fishes were almost identical in one specific gene. But...
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 larger of two giant squids on display in the Smithsonian's Sant Ocean Hall , this female was caught in a fisherman's net off the coast of Spain in 2005. It was probably 2-3 years old and, when...
This venomous box jelly ( Chiropsalmus quadrumanus ) was collected off the coast of South Carolina. The specimen now resides in the Smithsonian’s marine collection . It's venomous sting can be lethal...
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...
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 fossil tooth whorl of the ancient shark Helicoprion , dates back 290 million years. For a long time, people didn't know what the shark looked like—but, thanks to a CT scan of a fossil,...
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