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Often it's the tiniest organisms that do the most harm. One example is microscopic algae, which can grow rapidly to form harmful algal blooms . Such blooms (some are called "red tides") create unhealthy...
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Evidence shows that life probably began in the ocean at least 3.5 billion 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:...

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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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When you're standing in a museum surrounded by fossils, you can almost imagine drifting through time to when long-extinct...

The Ocean Blog

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.
Dugongs , along with manatees , make up a group of marine mammals called sirenians or seacows . In the modern world, only one species of seacow is found in any one place in the world. However, the...
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...
This early whale was well suited to life at sea. But it also lived on land. An ancestor of the right whale , Maiacetus lived 49-40 million years ago. It had flipper-like limbs and webbed feet, like...
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...
Not all fossils from the Cambrian period became amulets; instead the extinct Hallucigenia sparsa was notable for its spines.
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,...
The evolution of whales represents one of the great stories in macroevolution. It's a narrative that has mostly benefitted from an extraordinary series of fossils recovered from rocks around the...
Sirenians , or seacows, are a group of marine mammals that include manatees and dugongs . Currently, only a single species of seacow is found anywhere in the world. However, the fossil record of...
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...
Long before great white sharks appeared, much larger ancestors roamed the ocean. This giant ancient shark -- the Giant Megatooth ( Carcharodon megalodon ) -- was probably big enough to eat a whale.
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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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