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An early scale model of North Atlantic right whale Phoenix that was used to develop a life size model for the Smithsonian shows the location of scars on her mouth from entanglements with fishing gear...
Marine mammals around the world face many challenges due to interactions with people, from overfishing and entanglement to vessel strikes and disturbance from human sounds. Dr. Brandon Southall...
Since 1987, researchers have been tracking the North Atlantic right whale named Phoenix. More about Phoenix can be found in the Tale of a Whale photo essay .
Scaffolding and supports at the work site hold a life-size model of a North Atlantic right whale Phoenix—the “ambassador” of the Smithsonian’s Sant Ocean Hall in the National Museum of Natural...
During whale hunts, this carved whale box stored harpoon blades like the three shown beside it. "Living" inside the box was meant to give the blades spiritual powers to carry a harpoon back to the...
In the late 1990's, researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) invented the D-Tag —a radio device that can be attached by suction cups to a whale's back. Using a tiny underwater...
This close-up photo of a right whale's head shows dozens of hitchhikers—tiny crustaceans known as whale lice, or cyamid amphipods. They live on the rough patches of skin (known as callosities) on...
These are fossil remains of archaeocetes, ancient whales, from the Paracas Formation of Peru's Pisco Basin . Smithsonian paleobiologist Nicholas D. Pyenson and a team of scientists discovered the...
Hear how research unfolds at sea in a tiny Zodiac surrounded by creatures that measure longer than a city bus. Playing female whale calls into the water, researcher Susan Parks suddenly finds herself...
Smithsonian surveys along the lower north shore of Hare Harbor in Quebec, Canada have revealed evidence of a long history of Native American occupation, beginning with the Maritime Archaic Indian...
“Moments after its eyes emerged from the water for a ‘spy hop,’ this whale slowly descended in my direction and came as close as six feet before it dove away.” -- Nature's Best photographer, Steffen...
“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...
This copepod Calanus hyperboreus (up to 7mm in length) lives in the Arctic , usually within 500 meters of the surface. To survive the cold Arctic winters, Calanus hyperboreus builds up dense fat (...
Whale baleen, the stiff bristly mouthparts that sieve small prey from the water, was strong yet flexible, and was used to provide structure in many human products, including umbrellas, corsets, and...
Phoenix’s mother, Stumpy (#1004), was killed in a collision with a ship near Virginia in February 2004. She was pregnant with her sixth known calf. More about whales can be found in our Tale of a...
Since 1987, researchers have been tracking Phoenix. More about whales can be found in our Tale of a whale featured story .
Many sperm whales stranded on beaches or caught by whalers exhibit telltale circular scars like these. Only one thing could have made them: the strong suckers that line the giant squid’s eight arms...
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...
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