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In the episode of One Species at a Time , writer Karen Romano Young takes an icebreaker to Barrow, Alaska, to join in the festival of Naluqatak and learn about the intimate relationship between...
A Twelve-Step group for wild animals with people-food addictions? Don’t be...
When a whale dies, the story has just begun. The massive carcass sinks to the...
How do right whales size up? North Atlantic Right whales ( Eubalaena glacialis...

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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 individual from another. Learn more...
The false killer whale (pdf) ( Pseudorca crassidens ) is a large dolphin...
Lying on the ice with a few friends is not an unusual way to spend time for...

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The threat that climate change poses to polar bears has received a lot of attention, but they are not the only Arctic...
Graceful spinner dolphins ( Stenella longirostris ) swim through the dazzling blue waters of the Papahānaumokuākea National Monument, northwest of the main Hawaiian archipelago. Papahānaumokuākea was...
Hoping to hear bowhead whales , NOAA marine mammal scientist Sue Moore listens to real-time sounds from an underwater hydrophone.
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...
Smithsonian squid expert Dr. Clyde Roper collaborated with National Geographic to attach this Crittercam to the head of a sperm whale, hoping to get footage of the whale’s favorite prey—giant squid...
At the ends of the Earth, life thrives despite extreme conditions. In the Arctic and Southern Oceans, organisms have evolved adaptations to cope with year-round cold and six months of darkness. But...
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...
The Surtsey site in Iceland was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2008. Surtsey is a new island, formed by volcanic eruptions that took place from 1963 to 1967. The site is unique, because it's...
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 .
This may look like a mane of hair, but it’s actually baleen from a North Atlantic Right Whale. Although it looks soft and furry, dried baleen is quite stiff, which made it useful for creating...
“In late November, land-locked polar bears gather along the Hudson Bay to await the formation of Arctic ice so they can return to their seal-hunting grounds for the winter.” -- Nature's Best...
The ocean sustains land animals besides humans. Here, a fox looks for a meal at low tide on the Arctic Peninsula. When the tide goes out, it leaves behind tidepools full of tasty snacks for foxes and...
The common bottlenose dolphin ( Tursiops truncatus ) has lungs, but doesn't breathe through its mouth. Instead, toothed whales breathe through a blowhole on top of their head. Read more about...
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...
A Galapagos sea lion ( Zalophus wollebaeki ) rests on a beach in Ecuador. The population of these charming animals swings wildly during El Niño events, but is declining overall. They are currently...
Polar bears have evolved to survive in the Arctic with large, oar-like front paws for better swimming, as well as insulating blubber, and two layers of fur for the frigid temperatures. They rely on...
An early scale model of North Atlantic right whale Phoenix indicates the location of scars on her tail from entanglements with fishing gear. More about the right whale can be found in our Tale of a...
Phoenix rises out of the waters east of Cape Cod, MA, in April 2003. The rough patches of skin (known as callosities) occur in unique patterns on all North Atlantic right whales and help researchers...
Walruses use sea ice as platforms on which to nurse their young and launch their dives for clams and other bottom-dwellers. Each spring, walruses move northward to stay close to these perches as ice...
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