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This family tree shows how the ancestors of whales moved gradually from land to sea. Early whales took advantage of abundant marine resources, feeding on the ocean's fish, squid and other larger food. Baleen...
For the last 150 years, paleontologists have debated the origins of the great...
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The blanket octopus can rip a poisonous tentacle from a Portuguese man-o-war...
Come one, come all! See the amazing, the astonishing, half-animal, half-plant!...

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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 marine surroundings, a diversity...
These "elevator" rudists, an ancient bivalve, used one long heavy valve to...
Today, filter feeders like clams, sponges, krill, baleen whales, fishes, and...

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Whales swim, but their ancestors walked. Whales are mammals (like us) whose ancestors lived on land. Life probably began in...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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 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...
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,...
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...
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.
This 1837 sketch is Charles Darwin’s first diagram of an evolutionary tree. It appears in his First Notebook on Transmutation of Species (1837).
This transparent cockatoo squid ( Leachia sp.), also known as a glass squid, lives in the depths of the ocean and has many adaptations to help it survive there. It retains ammonia solutions inside...
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...
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...
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...
A video of the Palauan primitive cave eel ( Protanguilla palau ) swimming in the Pacific off the Republic of Palau . Jiro Sakaue, a Japanese research diver, first discovered the new genus and species...
Hidden beneath Arctic ice is a world few have ever seen. Take the icy plunge with a team of ice-loving scientists.
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...
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