Blogs & Videos: Marine Animals

Four Fossil Sharks That Are Cooler Than Megalodon

Megalodon is the T. rex of the prehistoric shark world—it might have looked like a Great White, only way, way bigger, and it’s everybody’s favorite. It’s had its moment in the sun, even starring in a fake Shark Week documentary saying that it’d been found in modern waters (don’t worry—megalodon has been extinct for millions of years). But The Field Museum is home to some really bizarre sharks that lived millions of years before dinosaurs were even a twinkle in the universe’s eye.

Strange sea-dwelling reptile fossil hints at rapid evolution after mass extinction

Two hundred and fifty million years ago, life on earth was in a tail-spin—climate change, volcanic eruptions, and rising sea levels contributed to a mass extinction that makes the death of the dinosaurs look like child’s play. Marine life got hit hardest—96% of all marine species went extinct. For a long time, scientists believed that the early marine reptiles that came about after the mass extinction evolved slowly, but the recent discovery of a strange new fossil brings that view into question.

North Carolina Zoo polar bear habitat with fake rocks and painted lichens

Attention to lichen detail in the polar bear habitat

One of the best zoos Collections Manager Robert Lücking has ever visited is the North Carolina Zoo, with its vast area allowing much space for its animals. Also, the attention to detail is quite amazing. Many dioramas include rock features made out of various materials including concrete, specifically designed to meet the animals' needs. What is astonishing, however, that the designers and builders even took care to mimic lichens growing on these fake rocks, and even on close-up these look so real that one has to make sure they are not just paint.

2010 REU Intern Emily Rudick

Comparative Gill and Labial Palp Morphology (Mollusca: Bivalvia)

EMILY LAUREN RUDICK Sophomore Biology major at Temple University, College of Science and Technology REU Mentors: Dr. Rüdiger Bieler (Curator, Zoology, Invertebrates) and Dr. Ana Glavinic (Postdoctoral Fellow, Zoology, Invertebrates) Symposium Presentation Title: Comparative Gill and Labial Palp Morphology (Mollusca: Bivalvia)

Video: A Sea Monster Named Jim

Olivier Rieppel and Jim Holstein tell the tale of the giant Lizard Eating Sovereign of the Sea (named Jim!). Touted as the "T. rex of the Sea," the Triassic sea monster was unearthed and brought back to The Field Museum where we hope to learn more about this new species. Research into this fascinating creature may teach us something about biodiversity crises and the recovery of ecosystems, both past and present.

Video: Leo on Bioluminescence

Beyond the reach of sunlight, thousands of feet below the surface of the ocean, some creatures create their own light known as "bioluminescence." Take a trip through the mind of Leo Smith, who asks questions about deep sea fish evolution. Patterns in diversity can offer clues to why fish have evolved so many ways of brightening up the deep sea. Some seem to use light to blend into their surroundings, others to lure prey out of the surroundings, or even to attract mates.

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