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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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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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Bioluminescence is one of the more captivating adaptations that have evolved in...

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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...

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Whales swim, but their ancestors walked. Whales are mammals (like us) whose ancestors lived on land. Life probably began in...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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.
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 (...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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,...
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...
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