Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Sunday, May 27, 2012
Early mineralization of the tympanic bulla allows immediate sound conduction in the aquatic medium and consequently holds potential importance for mother-calf relationship and postnatal survival. Deposition of bone mineral in fetal and newborn specimens of the fin whale Balaenoptera physalus is remarkably higher in the bulla tympanica than in the adjacent basal skull or in the rest of the skeleton. The evolution of the cetacean skeleton followed a path that differentiated this group from other terrestrial mammals about 50 million years ago.
Friday, May 25, 2012
The biggest of the baleen whales are known as rorqual whales, a group that includes humpback whales, fin whales and, of course, the blue whale — the largest animal to ever live. Scientists have discovered a grapefruit-sized mass of vessels and nervous tissues located in whales' chins, and they believe it's an entirely new kind of sensory organ. It's possible the organ is what allows these massive creatures to eat using a lightning-fast mouth movement called "lunge feeding."