Mammals

FEATURES

Blog entry
The evolution of whales represents one of the great stories in macroevolution. It's a narrative that has mostly benefitted from an extraordinary series of fossils recovered from rocks around the world, including challenging field...
When a whale dies, the story has just begun. The massive carcass sinks to the...
I have a vivid childhood memory of sitting under the Blue Whale model hanging...
How do right whales size up? North Atlantic Right whales ( Eubalaena glacialis...

LATEST POSTS

To people living in warm climates, all ice looks the same. But if you live day-in and day-out on sea ice, like the Inupiaq people of Alaska, you would find that there are many kinds of ice, all distinct. In fact, the Inupiaq have...
The largest of all seal species, the southern elephant seal ( Mirounga...
A close up view of Phoenix and the rough patches of skin known as...

LEARN MORE

The threat that climate change poses to polar bears has received a lot of attention, but they are not the only Arctic...

The Ocean Blog

A model marker applies paint to the life-size, meticulously detailed model of the North Atlantic right whale Phoenix which today is on exhibit in the Smithsonian’s Sant Ocean Hall in the National...
A right whale opens its mouth wide, revealing huge plates of baleen hanging from its upper jaw. There are between 200 and 270 baleen plates on each side of a right whale's upper jaw. They work like a...
Phoenix was photographed swimming off the coast of Canada in the Bay of Fundy in August 2007. More about the right whale can be found in our Tale of a Whale featured story .
A polar bear ( Ursus maritimus) in Churchill Wildlife Management Area in Manitoba, Canada smelling the scent of humans while waiting for sea ice to form on of the Hudson Bay. There are several human...
Many people love seals and sea lions, and it's easy to see why: they’re playful, adorable, and quite photogenic. But what is the difference between seals and their cousins the sea lions? Both have...
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 life-size, meticulously detailed model of the North Atlantic right whale Phoenix hangs in the Smithsonian’s Sant Ocean Hall in the National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC. More about...
Beluga whales are naturally vocal animals. They are often called “ canaries of the sea ” thanks to their wide repertoire of sounds such as whistles, squeals, moos, chirps, and clicks. Some...
Walruses use sea ice as platforms on which to nurse their young and launch their dives for clams and other bottom-dwellers. Each spring, walruses move northward to stay close to these perches as ice...
The right whale named Phoenix as seen in 2004 off the coast.
This illustration shows whalers of the early 1800s with their highly profitable catch.
An early scale model of North Atlantic right whale Phoenix indicates the location of scars on her tail from entanglements with fishing gear. More about the right whale can be found in our Tale of a...
The fringed baleen plates are easy to observe as this North Atlantic right whale skims the water’s surface while it feeds. Many baleen whales suck in as much water was possible, and then push it out...
A crew works on creating a life-size, meticulously detailed model of the North Atlantic right whale Phoenix—the “ambassador” of the Smithsonian’s Sant Ocean Hall in the National Museum of Natural...
Fargo, the dog pictured here, is not just having a relaxing day at sea. He is helping researchers at the New England Aquarium in Boston detect scat (or poop) from North Atlantic right whales . The...
A male sperm whale feeding near the surface. Sperm whales are a toothed whale , rather than a baleen whale , and are found throughout the world's oceans.
"Wild manatees in Belize are not used to humans. Living miles offshore in mangroves, they remain shy and elusive. After weeks searching and waiting for an opportunity to photograph them, I was...
Humpback whales ( Megaptera novaengliae ) can be found in Antarctic waters during the spring and summer in the Southern hemisphere, where they gorge on their main food source: tiny krill. How do they...
Subscribe to Mammals