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Evidence shows that life probably began in the ocean at least 3.5 billion years ago. Photosynthesis began more than 2.5 billion years ago—the Great Oxidation Event. But it took hundreds of millions of years...
Monodontids, the group of whales that includes the belugas and narwhals...
The whales that we see in today's world can broadly be split into two groups:...
After a few long days of hard work on the island, we were finally able to...

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How long have jellyfish lived in the ocean? This jellyfish fossil is from the Cambrian period, more than 500 million years ago. It was found buried in Utah —an area that used to be underwater, covered by the ocean. Fossil...
Today, filter feeders like clams, sponges, krill, baleen whales, fishes, and...
For a long time, scientists thought that some small tentacled fossils were...

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Whales swim, but their ancestors walked. Whales are mammals (like us) whose ancestors lived on land. Life probably began in...

The Ocean Blog

This illustration shows one old idea of what the ancient shark Helicoprion might have looked like. There once was room for many ideas—some more plausible than others—because the only fossils of the...
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.
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...
An archaeologist arranges a deep-sea core from off the coast of Britain. These cores are long cylinders of the earth's crust, drilled up from beneath the seafloor. When the cores shown here are...
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...
Monodontids, the group of whales that includes the belugas and narwhals swimming our ocean today, are emblematic symbols of the Arctic. However, their fossil record, although scarce, suggests that...
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...
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...
The peaceful Archaeocyatha lived during the most recent part of the Cambrian period. They separated into many families and were the Earth’s first reef-building animals.
How long have jellyfish lived in the ocean? This jellyfish fossil is from the Cambrian period, more than 500 million years ago. It was found buried in Utah —an area that used to be underwater,...
Lenticulina secans -- this foram lives on the seafloor. This specimen was collected from ocean sediments in southeast Tanzania. It comes from a time over 92 million years ago when both the polar...
A life-sized model suspended over visitors at the San Diego Natural History Museum shows what an ancient shark, the Giant Megatooth ( Carcharodon megalodon ), might have looked like. More about the...
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...
When you're standing in a museum surrounded by fossils, you can almost imagine drifting through time to when long-extinct creatures swam the ocean. Found all over the world, these fossils can be read...
About 100 million years ago, during the heyday of the dinosaurs , reefs were built by mollusks called rudist clams . They looked very different from today's coral reefs . Discover more about the...
The Wiwaxia corrugata may have molted its scales in order to grow past these hard boundaries.
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.
Most people have never heard of the Hawaiian petrel , an endangered, crow-sized seabird that spends the majority of its life searching for food over the North Pacific Ocean. Nevertheless, this bird...
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