Wednesday, May 30, 2012

New Calf for L Pod

L119 was born recently to 25 year old L77 and is the second documented calf for this whale. The first was seen in 2010 for just one day. L pod is part of the southern resident killer whale endangered population now totaling 89 animals (CWR). 190435575_b2b488f798_o-

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Fetal Mineralization of the Tympanic Bulla

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

Whales Have a Sensory Organ Unlike Anything Ever Seen

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."