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After a few long days of hard work on the island, we were finally able to excavate and remove , not just one, but two skeletons of an early "toothed" baleen whale from the...
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Most people have never heard of the Hawaiian petrel , an endangered, crow-sized...
How long have jellyfish lived in the ocean? This jellyfish fossil is from the...
Like the modern nautilus, this relative of modern squid hunted from inside the...

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Today, filter feeders like clams, sponges, krill, baleen whales, fishes, and many others fill the ocean, spending their days filtering and eating tiny particles from the water. But when did the first filter feeder evolve? The...
For a long time, scientists thought that some small tentacled fossils were...
This early whale was well suited to life at sea. But it also may have spent...

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Whales swim, but their ancestors walked. Whales are mammals (like us) whose ancestors lived on land. Life probably began in...
Hantkenina mexicana -- a foram with elongated shell chambers that lived between 45-49 million years ago, during the Eocene Epoch. This specimen is from marine sediments that were drilled in the...
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...
400 to 1,000 year old bones from an endangered seabird, the Hawaiian petrel. Bones such as these provide a window into the lives of seabirds before and after human arrival in the open ocean...
Rudist clams are mollusks that went extinct about 65 million years ago. They were the reef builders of the Cretaceous Period, the heyday of the dinosaurs. Today corals have taken over the role...
Like the modern nautilus, this relative of modern squid hunted from inside the safe haven of a protective shell. Ammonites went extinct around the same time as the dinosaurs—65 million years ago...
What makes a top predator? Razor-sharp teeth? Speed? Strength? Size? Who is the most fearsome hunter? It depends on where and when you look.
Earth’s first animals had soft bodies. This illustration shows a community of soft-bodied Ediacaran (edi-A-karan) animals. Some species resemble living ocean creatures. Others are unlike any known...
Offshore Peru, during the Eocene (~56-34 million years ago), showing three archaeocetes (ancient whales), along with a previously described fossil penguin. Top to bottom: Perudyptes devriesi ,...
The Wiwaxia corrugata may have molted its scales in order to grow past these hard boundaries.
About 100 million years ago , during the heyday of the dinosaurs, reefs were built by mollusks called rudist clams. Like modern clams, rudists were bivalves , with two shells (or valves) joined at a...
These deep-sea sediment cores were drilled from beneath the seafloor, and hold information about millions of years of ocean and atmospheric chemistry. As dirt, dead organisms, and other particles...
The Ottoia prolifica has proven that cannibalism did exist in the Cambrian period since there have been portions of one Ottoia prolifica found in another specimen’s gut.
Opabinia was a strange looking creature: it had five mushroom-like eyes that allowed it to see predators approaching from many directions.
The foot-long extinct shark Falcatus falcatus lived during the early Carboniferous period around 325 million years ago. The species, known from fossils in the Bear Gulch formation of Montana , was...
Reaching almost three feet (one meter) long, Anomalocaris canadensis was enormous for this time period.
This illustration shows the edge of a warm inland sea during the Cretaceous Period, heyday of the dinosaurs. Constantly shifting sediment supported new groups of organisms, including rudist clams—...
These "elevator" rudists, an ancient bivalve, used one long heavy valve to anchor themselves in the sediment. They used their tentacles (shown here in pink) to filter food from the sea water. And...
Fossils from the Cambrian period are found throughout the world. The Chengjiang fossil site in china is famous for containing about 196 species of fossils, many from the Cambrian period. The Burgess...
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