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Many people love seals and sea lions, and it's easy to see why: they’re playful, adorable, and quite photogenic. But what is the difference between seals and their cousins the sea lions? Both have...
Humpback whales ( Megaptera novaengliae ) are the most abundant baleen whale in...
In the late 1990's, researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (...
Killer whales ( Orcinus orca ) are master hunters, using speed, camouflage, and...

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The polar bear ( Ursus maritimus ) is found in the Arctic and classified as a vulnerable species by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. This marine mammal can swim more than 30 miles when sea ice has receded due to warm...
Humpback whales ( Megaptera novaengliae ) can be found in Antarctic waters...
Harp seals are protected in the United States by the Marine Mammal...

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Stretching up to 16.8 meters (55 feet) long and weighing up to 62 tons (70 tons), the North Atlantic right whale is one of...

The Ocean Blog

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...
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 .
The rough patches of skin known as callosities occur in unique patterns on all North Atlantic right whales and help researchers identify and track individual whales. This whale is named Phoenix. More...
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...
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...
Jorge and I packed up the night we arrived in Panama with Aaron O'Dea and his team from STRI . The road we took in two field vehicles mostly followed the Panama Canal heading northwards; we had to...
Narwhals ( Monodon monoceros ) are a type of toothed whale, best known for their long unicorn-like tusk. The tusk is normally found on male narwhals and is actually a tooth. Narwhals usually live in...
A right whale opens its mouth wide, revealing huge plates of baleen hanging from its upper jaw. There are between 200 and 270 baleen plates on each side of a right whale's upper jaw. They work like a...
The right whale named Phoenix as seen in 2004 off the coast.
John Hildebrand discusses his research at the Scripps Whale Acoustic Lab on the FLIP platform. Learn more about how scientists are using bioacoustics to study and protect whales .
The elegant Antarctic minke whale feeds on krill (tiny crustaceans) during the winter. Groups of minke whales often are found on the edges of pack ice feasting so that they can grow thick layers of...
Humpback whales ( Megaptera novaengliae ) can be found in Antarctic waters during the spring and summer in the Southern hemisphere, where they gorge on their main food source: tiny krill. How do they...
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...
Editor's note: Read Nick's first blog post about "toothed" baleen whales to see what their team is excavating on Vancouver Island. We departed from Port Renfrew on Tuesday morning on the Michelle...
Scientists document a direct relationship between the extent of sea ice and polar bear survival. Future projected reductions in the extent of annual sea-ice due to global warming may result in the...
The whales that we see in today's world can broadly be split into two groups: those with teeth (odontocetes), and those that have baleen (mysticetes) instead of teeth. These two groups share a common...
The crabeater seal ( Lobodon carcinophaga ) is found on the ice of Antarctica, but surprisingly they don't eat crabs! The seals primarily eat krill, tiny crustaceans that play a large part in the...
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...
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