Fossils

FEATURES

Blog entry
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 Diana, a...
For the last 150 years, paleontologists have debated the origins of the great...
Nick Pyenson, curator of fossil marine mammals at the Smithsonian's National...
Slideshow MORE STORIES Slideshow MORE AUDIO / VIDEO
On a beach in Piña, Panama the tide is rolling out. Faint outlines of skeletal...

LATEST CATCH

How long have jellyfish lived in the ocean? This jellyfish fossil is from the Cambrian period, more than 500 million years ago. It was found buried in Utah —an area that used to be underwater, covered by the ocean. Fossil...
This well-preserved fossil is the only intact partial skull ever found of a...
Two fossilized teeth from a megalodon ( Carcharodon megalodon ) dating back...

DIVE DEEPER

When the cod fishery collapsed in Newfoundland in the early 1990s, the hopes of the local fish harvesters collapsed with it...
The Wiwaxia corrugata may have molted its scales in order to grow past these hard boundaries.
CREDIT: Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Basque Whalers Background Having already learned to hunt large whales in the Bay of Biscay in the 13th through 15th centuries, Basques began arriving in the...
A reconstruction of a new fossil beluga relative, Bohaskaia monodontoides , described by Smithsonian scientists, is in the foreground. Its living relatives, the beluga and narwhal, are illustrated...
When the cod fishery collapsed in Newfoundland in the early 1990s, the hopes of the local fish harvesters collapsed with it. Hundreds of Newfoundlanders moved away and businesses that depended on the...
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...
Monodontids, the group of whales that includes living belugas and narwhals, are emblematic symbols of the Arctic. However, the fossil record shows that these animals had a much larger range than the...
One of the ocean's tiniest organisms often does the most harm. Microscopic algae can grow rapidly to form harmful algal blooms (sometimes called "red tides"), which create unhealthy water conditions...
Smithsonian curator of fossil marine mammals Nick Pyenson and a team of collaborators are heading into Chile's Atacama Desert , shown here. They'll study a rich bonebed of fossil marine vertebrates...
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...
My graduate student Jorge and I are departing today for Panama, to excavate a fossil whale that was discovered by an undergraduate student working with Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute...
A fossil vertebra that a Smithsonian researcher's mother found while prospecting in the Gatun Formation. It's not just any vertebra, it belongs to a fossil sea cow! According to Jorge Valez-Juarbe, a...
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 (...
A behind the scenes look at the NMNH ocean-related collections and their importance to research and discovery.
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.
These are fossil remains of archaeocetes, ancient whales, from the Paracas Formation of Peru's Pisco Basin . Smithsonian paleobiologist Nicholas D. Pyenson and a team of scientists discovered the...
After a few long days of hard work on the island, we were finally able to excavate and remove , not just one, but two skeletons of an early "toothed" baleen whale from the rocks near the Carmanah...
Chilean and Smithsonian paleontologists study several fossil whale skeletons at Cerro Ballena, next to the Pan-American Highway in Atacama Region, Chile, in 2011. The fossils were discovered when the...
Offshore Peru, during the Eocene (~56-34 million years ago), showing three archaeocetes (ancient whales), along with a previously described fossil penguin. Top to bottom: Perudyptes devriesi ,...
Subscribe to Fossils