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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...
Come one, come all! See the amazing, the astonishing, half-animal, half-plant!...
Several species of amphipod like this one, Gammarus wilkitzkii , live...
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Deep sea animals have to live in a very cold, dark, and high-pressure...

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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 lived on land...

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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 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...
Several species of amphipod like this one, Gammarus wilkitzkii , live permanently within Arctic sea ice . These animals are endemic, meaning they only live here. They acclimate to a wide range of...
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...
Scientists at the Smithsonian and partnering organizations have discovered a remarkably primitive eel in a fringing reef off the coast of the Republic of Palau . This fish exhibits many primitive...
The Galápagos Islands site in Ecuador was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1978. Located in the equatorial Pacific Ocean nearly 1000 km from South America, the Galapagos Islands and the...
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...
For a long time, scientists thought that some small tentacled fossils were early ancestors of jellyfish. But a new study has found that these ancient animals are actually related to an entirely...
Great White Sharks are stealthy hunters and the secret is in their skin. Shark skin is covered by tiny flat V-shaped scales, called dermal denticles, that are more like teeth than fish scales. These...
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...
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...
For the last 150 years, paleontologists have debated the origins of the great white shark . Many believe that they descended from the 50-foot megalodon, also known as the megatooth shark (...
Whales have existed for million of years. Watch this animation, from the Sant Ocean Hall , to see how they evolved from land-dwellers to the animals we know today. Discover more about whale evolution...
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...
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...
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,...
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.
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...
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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