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The Ocean Blog

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...
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 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...
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 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 —...
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...
Dive into the Gulf of Mexico without getting wet! The Smithsonian has recently uploaded some of its marine collections from that region onto Google Earth's Ocean Layer . Now you can go where our...
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...
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...
This photo shows just a small part of the cephalopod collection at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. Shown here is Dr. Clyde Roper , a zoologist and squid expert. More about the...
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...
Monodontids, the group of whales that includes living belugas and narwhals, are emblematic symbols of the Arctic. However, the fossil record shows that these animals had a much larger range than the...
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...
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...
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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