Sea Monster Island

Sea Monster Island

Video. Far north of the Arctic Circle, emerging explorer Jørn Hurum coaxes the secrets of evolution from a rocky polar desert with a treasure trove of fossils, including sea monsters of the Jurassic era.


6 - 12+


Earth Science, Geology

NG Live

This video was filmed June 23, 2011 at the National Geographic Explorers Symposium at National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C.


He’s been asking the same question since he was five years old: “Where do I come from?” The answer, Jørn Hurum believes, could lie in fossilized bones, buried for millions of years. “I focus on fossils to try and understand my own past. If my discoveries can contribute a new piece of the puzzle to explain the history of life on Earth, that’s really exciting.”


  • Introduction and a short history of Svalbard (start-02:02 min.)
  • The first of many fossils, and the beginning of an expedition (02:03-03:29 min.)
  • Working in a "Polar Desert": field seasons and conditions (03:30-04:38 min.)
  • Background on marine reptiles (04:39-05:02 min.)
  • Finding articulated skeletons (05:03-06:48 min.)
  • A complete ichthyosaur skeleton (06:49-07:14 min.)
  • Using geology to learn about fossils (07:15-07:57 min.)
  • The 6th field season: more skeletons and new species (07:58-08:44 min.)
  • Using anomites to determine the age of fossils (08:45-09:36 min.)
  • Future work and macro evolution (09:37-10:13 min.)
  • A theory for extinction (10:14-10:50 min.)

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Page Producers
Nina Page, National Geographic Society
Samantha Zuhlke, National Geographic Society
Last Updated

September 27, 2022

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