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This ivory sculpture from Point Barrow, Alaska, represents Kikámigo, a guardian spirit, holding a whale in each hand.
Classic examples of Northwest Coast art, these rattles from British Columbia illustrate the sophisticated way of life salmon helped provide. They were used during shamanistic performances to cure...
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...
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...
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 “...
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...
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 —...
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...
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...
This fish’s tail looks like a long streamer. It lives near the ocean’s surface and grows only up to 45 mm (1.7 in) long. Find out how this fish was part of an international scientific mystery.
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...
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...
There are about 4 million specimens in the fish collection housed at the National Museum of Natural History . It is the largest of its kind in the world. Learn how these collections helped to solve...
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...
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