Please Explain: Whales

Friday, September 06, 2013

This week's Please Explain is about the largest mammals on earth: whales. Joining us are: Dr. John J. Flynn, the Frick Curator of Fossil Mammals at the American Museum of Natural History and the Dean of the Museum's Richard Gilder Graduate School. He's also the curator of the exhibition "Whales: Giants of the Deep," on view at the museum through January 5. And Dr. Mark Baumgartner, Marine Biologist and Associate Scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.


Dr. Mark Baumgartner and Dr. John J. Flynn

Comments [7]

Wayne Johnson Ph.D. from BK

The Navy just completed a study which shows that their planned continuation of sonar testing in the Pacific will kill or injure "hundreds" of Whales and Dolphins. But they plan to go ahead with the tests in spite of this fact.

Sep. 06 2013 02:47 PM
Konrad from Astoria, NY

Correction... the artifact apparently dates to early 19th century (not 18th)..

Sep. 06 2013 02:08 PM
Konrad from Astoria, NY

I know the longevity of whales depends on species, and it quite uncertain. My question regards to the bow head whale (I think) that was studied somewhere in the arctic, either after beaching or after a subsistence hunt. Within its skin was found a harpoon head, made of stone. These harpoon heads were replaced among the native populations of the arctic at the beginning of 20th century, with metal ones, as the material became widely available.
The artifact must have been withing the thick skin for a long time, and according to some archaeologists, it dates typologically to early 18th century. My question is, can whales live ca. 200 years, and if this incident is something that is being discussed withing the whale research community? What is the latest research as to how long whale species live. Many Thanks!

Sep. 06 2013 02:06 PM

thanks for this segment. whales are so magnificent. still hunting: japan, norway, iceland.

Sep. 06 2013 01:58 PM
pliny from soho

do they get as angry with whalers
as "we" do

Sep. 06 2013 01:43 PM
John A

How obvious is the two-legged origin of whales in their skeletal tail?

Sep. 06 2013 01:36 PM
Mark Sherrid, MD from NYC

Assuming the airway assumes an anterior position as in other mammals, does it cross to the right or left of the esophagous?

Sep. 06 2013 01:32 PM

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