More Whales

Whales have existed for million of years. Watch this animation, from the Sant Ocean Hall , to see how they evolved from land-dwellers to the animals we know today. Discover more about whale evolution...
A drawing of Phoenix from the Right Whale Catalog documents her callosity pattern and other identifying marks. More about whales can be found in our Tale of a whale featured story .
Toothed whales, like this common dolphin ( Delphinus delphis ) and its calf, live in social groups called pods. The mother and calf form a pair that shares a long-term bond. Read more about toothed...
Every North Atlantic right whale has a pattern of callosities unique to that individual. This distinctive pattern provides a very visual, convenient tool that researchers can use to tell one...
Monodontids, the group of whales that includes the belugas and narwhals swimming our ocean today, are emblematic symbols of the Arctic. However, their fossil record, although scarce, suggests that...
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...
Researchers have identified five areas of high North Atlantic right whale concentration between Canada and Florida. More about the right whale can be found in our Tale of a Whale featured story.
Phoenix was photographed swimming off the coast of Canada in the Bay of Fundy in August 2007. More about the right whale can be found in our Tale of a Whale featured story .
“This humpback uses its lower jaw to strain fish off the water’s surface as sea birds snatch their own meals right out of the whale’s open mouth.” -- Nature's Best photographer, Bryce Flynn. See more...
Illustrator Drew Christie created this light-hearted short film about how humans could really learn something from whales. Check it out and learn about all the different cetaceans and our...
Zombie worms ( Osedax roseus ) eat away at the bones of a dead whale that has fallen to the seafloor in Sagami Bay, Japan. These bizarre worms rely on whale bones for energy and are what scientists...
Since 1987, researchers have been tracking Phoenix, one of the last North Atlantic right whales living today. It's estimated that there are fewer than 500 of these whales alive today. Read her story...
Vertebrates evolved in the sea and eventually moved onto land. The ancestors of whales later returned to the sea, taking advantage of its rich food supplies. As early whales adapted to their new...
CREDIT: Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Basque Whalers Background Having already learned to hunt large whales in the Bay of Biscay in the 13th through 15th centuries, Basques began arriving in the...
Nick Pyenson, the curator of fossil marine mammals at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, points to the skull and skeleton of a fossil "toothed" mysticete ( baleen whale ) on the...
This magnified photo provides a close-up look at copepods—tiny crustaceans that right whales feed on. There are many species of copepods that live throughout the water column, from floating at the...
A model marker applies paint to the life-size, meticulously detailed model of the North Atlantic right whale Phoenix which today is on exhibit in the Smithsonian’s Sant Ocean Hall in the National...
Chilean and Smithsonian paleontologists study several fossil whale skeletons at Cerro Ballena, next to the Pan-American Highway in Atacama Region, Chile, in 2011. The fossils were discovered when the...
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