The first whales on Earth were certainly not like the ones that you see today: They lived on land, had four legs and were roughly the size of a dog. How do we know about the deep past of whales, and what does that tell us about how evolution works? In the finale of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center’s 2020 Earth Optimism series, get a closer look with Nick Pyenson, author of “Spying on Whales” and curator of fossil marine mammals at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Dive in for the surprising backstory and a glimpse of our shared future with these enigmatic giants. The talk will span the poles to the equator; ice-locked waters to dry deserts; from millions of years in the past to our uncertain future.

Bonus: When you sign up online, you’ll automatically be entered into a random drawing to win a free copy of the book “Spying on Whales.” If you’d like to join the webinar but not enter the drawing, you can opt out by emailing Kristen Minogue at

This talk will be recorded for any who can’t attend live. Sign up online to watch live, or to receive a link to the recording afterward.

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