Mammals

From whales and dolphins to seals and sea otters. Marine mammals are defined by their reliance on the ocean for food, along with mammalian characteristics such as hair and mammary glands. 

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Monk seals -- the only completely tropical species of seal in the world -- are in trouble. Centuries of human exploitation and habitat destruction have caused the remaining populations of Mediterranean monk seals (...
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Sirenians , or seacows, are a group of marine mammals that include manatees and...
John Hildebrand discusses his research at the Scripps Whale Acoustic Lab on the...
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Many people love seals and sea lions, and it's easy to see why: they’re playful...

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Lying on the ice with a few friends is not an unusual way to spend time for walruses, who tend to be sociable animals. Their groups can range from tens to thousands. Each individual herd has a dominant male who is established by...
Bottlenose dolphins ( Tursiops truncatus ) are very social animals, and...
The North Atlantic right whale is one of the world's largest animals, but...

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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...
Humpback whales ( Megaptera novaengliae ) are the most abundant baleen whale in the nearshore waters around the Antarctic Peninsula. They, along with millions of penguins, seals, seabirds, and other...
This whale is entangled in fishing gear. Entangled whales often need human help to break free from the fishing gear . But the job is hard one that requires handling a small boat near the large (and...
Rachel Caauwe was one of a dozen artists who spent a recent Saturday sketching specimens from the Smithsonian's musky-scented marine mammal collection . Here she's shown drawing the remains of a...
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 world’s largest animals—and one of the most endangered whales...
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 .
The largest of all seal species, the southern elephant seal ( Mirounga leonina ) is found in chilly Antarctic and Subantarctic waters. The male seals dive as deep as 1,430 meters (over 4,600 feet)...
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...
Polar bears are threatened by the loss of sea ice in the Arctic . They walk for miles on the ice shelves to access different parts of the sea to hunt seals and other food. But as the ice melts as the...
Yankee Whalers: An 1856 Currier & Ives print shows whalers harpooning a right whale. More about whales can be found in our Tale of a Whale photo essay .
Killer whales ( Orcinus orca ) are master hunters, using speed, camouflage, and a variety of techniques to capture their prey. See how a different predator - the great white shark - finds its prey in...
The threat that climate change poses to polar bears has received a lot of attention, but they are not the only Arctic species at risk. Ice-loving seals, such as harp, hooded and ringed seals, are...
“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...
Seals and sea lions have many similarities, and are in the same family of Pinnipeds, but they lead very different lives. Seals are smaller than sea lions; male Stellar sea lions can grow to be up to...
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...
Bottlenose dolphins ( Tursiops truncatus ) are very social animals, and often travel and hunt in groups called pods. The most common is a nursery group of 5-20 dolphins made up of females and their...
Phoenix, the North Atlantic right whale whose replica hangs from the ceiling of the Sant Ocean Hall at the National Museum of Natural History, was sighted with a calf off of Amelia Island in Florida...
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...
"For the last few years, Norwegian herring have migrated to coastal waters outside Tromsø in the months between November and February, and humpbacks and orcas follow them to feast on the massive...
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