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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Logo The Department of Paleobiology - The Life of a Vertebrate Fossil
Level 5 - Store, Study, Display - The Nature of Research
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This is Tim Gaudin, a Visiting Researcher, who visited our collections to study fossil and modern mammals.

Sometimes other paleontologists will borrow the fossil to study it. Scientific progress requires constantly reevaluating old hypotheses, and after a while ideas about the fossil may change as:

  • New fossil specimens lead to new conclusions.
  • Other scientists study the fossil and interpret it differently.
  • New research techniques yield different results.

This is a picture of an archaic whale skull being scanned by a CAT scan. CAT stands for

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