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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 found at this...
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On a beach in Piña, Panama the tide is rolling out. Faint outlines of skeletal...
Smithsonian curator of fossil marine mammals Nick Pyenson and a team of...
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The whales that we see in today's world can broadly be split into two groups:...

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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 , unnamed protocetid, Ocucajea...
How long have jellyfish lived in the ocean? This jellyfish fossil is from...
This well-preserved fossil is the only intact partial skull ever found of a...

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When the cod fishery collapsed in Newfoundland in the early 1990s, the hopes of the local fish harvesters collapsed with it...
The whales that we see in today's world can broadly be split into two groups: those with teeth (odontocetes), and those that have baleen (mysticetes) instead of teeth. These two groups share a common...
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...
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 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...
Dr. Karen Bice studies the foraminifera in ocean sediment to better understand climate change. More about scientists studying world climate change can be found in our Climate Change featured story .
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,...
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 Haplophrentis carinatus had two oar-like appendages (called “helens”) used to stabilize the creature and help it move along the ocean bottom.
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...
Reaching almost three feet (one meter) long, Anomalocaris canadensis was enormous for this time period.
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.
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...
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...
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...
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...
Long before great white sharks appeared, much larger ancestors roamed the ocean. This giant ancient shark -- the Giant Megatooth ( Carcharodon megalodon ) -- was probably big enough to eat a whale.
Jorge and I arrived in Panama City around 3 pm this afternoon, and took a taxi to the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI)'s headquarters in the Gorgas neighborhood of downtown Panama City...
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