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In honor of Mother's Day, the Citizens of the Sea blog salutes ocean-going mothers everywhere. Especially a 60 year-old albatross named Wisdom. She holds the seabird records for both oldest bird and oldest new...
Sirenians , or seacows, are a group of marine mammals that include manatees and...
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This summer, many of you have likely enjoyed feasting on crabs, be they blue,...
Great White Sharks are stealthy hunters and the secret is in their skin. Shark...

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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 many often grew together to form...
Today, filter feeders like clams, sponges, krill, baleen whales, fishes, and...
For a long time, scientists thought that some small tentacled fossils were...

DIVE DEEPER

Whales swim, but their ancestors walked. Whales are mammals (like us) whose ancestors lived on land. Life probably began in...
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...
Deep sea animals have to live in a very cold, dark, and high-pressure environment where they can't see a thing! To survive there, they've evolved some very strange adapations. Some make their own...
This summer, many of you have likely enjoyed feasting on crabs, be they blue, stone, or Dungeness, and a special treat will have been the big, easy morsels of claw meat. The size of this muscle is...
Invasive species are often in the news these days, with human-transported organisms popping up in unexpected places. But in this era of climate change, there is a whole new kind of invasive species,...
Come one, come all! See the amazing, the astonishing, half-animal, half-plant! Journey to Tampa Bay, Florida, where scientist Skip Pierce and one of his students first made a remarkable discovery...
The basic body plans of all modern animals were set during the Cambrian Period, 542 - 488 million years ago. Your friends, family, and pet turtle may not look much like the creatures here. But we and...
The blanket octopus can rip a poisonous tentacle from a Portuguese man-o-war and wield it like a sword to ward off enemies as it soars through the ocean trailing its webbed cloak behind it...
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...
Dr. Stephen Cairns is a research zoologist and chair of the Department of Invertebrate Zoology at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. His research focuses on the diversity,...
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...
“It is strange to think of a sea turtle as an ecosystem,” says Amanda Feuerstein, program coordinator and research assistant at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, “but they are…...
The whales that we see in today's world can broadly be split into two groups: those with teeth (odontocetes), and those that have baleen (mysticetes) instead of teeth. These two groups share a common...
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...
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...
Vertebrates evolved in the sea and eventually moved onto land. The ancestors of whales later returned to the sea, taking advantage of its rich food supplies. As early whales adapted to their new...
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...
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...
Bioluminescence is one of the more captivating adaptations that have evolved in marine animals. It's the ability of organisms to create and emit light. Dive underwater and you may witness lightshows...
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