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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...
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Microscopic, single-celled organisms called foraminifera have a fossil record...
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Jorge and I packed up the night we arrived in Panama with Aaron O'Dea and his...
How long have jellyfish lived in the ocean? This jellyfish fossil is from the...
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Monodontids, the group of whales that includes the belugas and narwhals...

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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...
The fossil tooth whorl of the ancient shark Helicoprion , dating back 290...

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When you're standing in a museum surrounded by fossils, you can almost imagine drifting through time to when long-extinct...

The Ocean Blog

Paeleobiologist Dr. Nicholas Pyenson, Curator of Fossil Marine Mammals for the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), set out with Jorge Velez-Juarbe, NMNH Research Student and Ph...
The Wiwaxia corrugata may have molted its scales in order to grow past these hard boundaries.
The Ottoia prolifica has proven that cannibalism did exist in the Cambrian period since there have been portions of one Ottoia prolifica found in another specimen’s gut.
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...
Microscopic, single-celled organisms called foraminifera have a fossil record that extends from today to more than 500 million years ago. Although each foram is just a single cell, they build complex...
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...
This well-preserved fossil is the only intact partial skull ever found of a white shark that lived about 6.5 million years ago called Carcharodon hubbelli . The fossil jaw contains 222 teeth, some in...
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.
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...
Nick Pyenson, the curator of fossil marine mammals at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, points to the skull and skeleton of a fossil "toothed" mysticete ( baleen whale ) on the...
Dugongs , along with manatees , make up a group of marine mammals called sirenians or seacows . In the modern world, only one species of seacow is found in any one place in the world. However, the...
Paeleobiologist Dr. Nicholas Pyenson, Curator of Fossil Marine Mammals for the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), set out with Jorge Velez-Juarbe, NMNH Research Student and Ph...
Globotruncana falsostuarti -- a foram that lived about 75 million years ago, during the Cretaceous Period, from southeastern Tanzania. By measuring the chemistry in the shell, scientists can estimate...
A relative of insects, trilobites lived on the ocean floor during the Cambrian period. Some would curl up like pill bugs while others burrowed underneath sand and mud.
Nick Pyenson, curator of fossil marine mammals at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, holds an arm bone from a "toothed" mysticete from Vancouver Island. This is the second specimen...
Earth’s first animals had soft bodies. This illustration shows a community of soft-bodied Ediacaran (edi-A-karan) animals. Some species resemble living ocean creatures. Others are unlike any known...
Paeleobiologist Dr. Nicholas Pyenson, Curator of Fossil Marine Mammals for the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), set out with Jorge Velez-Juarbe, NMNH Research Student and Ph...
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...
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