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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...
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One of the ocean's tiniest organisms often does the most harm. Microscopic...
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Evidence shows that life probably began in the ocean at least 3.5 billion years...
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Monodontids, the group of whales that includes the belugas and narwhals...

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This early whale was well suited to life at sea. But it also may have spent time on land. An ancestor of the right whale , Maiacetus lived 49-40 million years ago. It had flipper-like limbs and webbed feet, like modern seals. But...
Offshore Peru, during the Eocene (~56-34 million years ago), showing three...
These "elevator" rudists, an ancient bivalve, used one long heavy valve to...

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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 Wiwaxia corrugata may have molted its scales in order to grow past these hard boundaries.
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—...
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...
Reaching almost three feet (one meter) long, Anomalocaris canadensis was enormous for this time period.
Come along as scientist Dr. Brendan Roark narrates a submersible dive to collect and study deep-sea corals. Roark studies deep-sea corals to understand the history of the ocean and past ocean...
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...
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.
Globotruncana falsostuarti -- a foram that lived about 75 million years ago, during the Cretaceous Period, from southeastern Tanzania. By measuring the chemistry in the shell, scientists can estimate...
The great predator Hurdia victoria’s prey consisted of trilobites and other smaller animals crawling on the seafloor.
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.
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...
Whales swim, but their ancestors walked. Whales are mammals (like us) whose ancestors lived on land. Life probably began in the ocean and then evolved to colonize the land. Yet the whale’s ancestors...
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...
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...
This rendering shows life at the end of the Cretaceous Period, before the impact of a 6.2 mi (10 km) asteroid triggered mass extinctions on land and sea. Dinosaurs are the most famous victims of the...
Humans are late arrivals on Earth. For nearly 75% of Earth’s history, life consisted of single-celled microbes without a nucleus (prokaryotes). Volcanoes and erosion sculpted Earth 3.5 billion years...
During the late Cretaceous period, Kansas was covered by a vast sea. There, scientists have found fossils of Squalicorax sharks (also called crow sharks) that lived 70-80 million years ago. They were...
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.
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