The Whale in the Water

The Dutch painting here, by Hendrick van Anthonissen, has led a double life. In its original form, it showed an object of fascination: a freshly stranded whale at during the mid-17th century. There was a widespread public interest in these large creatures around this time, which saw an expanding Dutch whaling industry and widespread use…

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Cerumen Core Archives

A group of researchers recently published the interesting approach of examining a large plug of ear wax (cerumen) taken from a male blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) that had been hit by ship. By analyzing the waxy layers built up over the whale’s life, which they compare to growth rings in trees, they came up with…

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Going South

I’ve been fortunate to have seen gray whales off the California coast. They are a majestic sight, even from a distance, when they make their annual migration along their regular route between northern feeding grounds and southern breeding havens. There are currently two known populations of gray whales: One on the eastern rim of the…

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Something Rich and Strange

Scientists exploring an undersea crater near the South Sandwich Islands have come across a whale skeleton, that of a southern Minke whale, a mile beneath the ocean’s surface near Antarctica. Finding a ‘whale fall’ is a rare enough occurrence, since whales sink to the ocean floor when they die (beached whales account for only an…

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