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Friday, January 30, 2004

Week for Dead Whales 

I don't have some morbid fascination with dead cetaceans or anything, but it just seems like there has been a (short) string of stories about dead whales this week.

First there was the whale that exploded [ text only | with photo ] in Taiwan earlier in the week.

Then a rare Cuvier's beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris) washes up in the Outer Hebrides.

And then there is the fossilized remains of a Miocene epoch whale that just went on display at the Calvert Marine Museum in Southern Maryland. NPR had a segment about the new display, too.

I am a bit excited about the Miocene epoch whale fossil, as it isn't too far away from us, so I'm sure we'll take a trip down there to see the museum and maybe hunt our own fossils at Calvert Cliffs. (I've never had any luck poking around there before, but it's always worth trying, innit?)

The exploding whale story is a bit disturbing, too. The sperm whale had washed up and was being collected for research purposes. But as it was being transferred to the Shi-Tsao Natural Preserve for dissection/examination, it literally exploded due to a build up of gasses within the body caused by decomposition. Oddly enough, I can't find a single reference (in English at least) about it in Taiwanese newspapers or on the 中華鯨豚協會 (Taiwan Cetecean Society) website.

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