Posts categorized as Whales

Guts ‘n’ stuff

  • lymph-nodes
  • intestine-with-lymph-nodes
  • lung
  • annotated-under-the-ribs1

The scientists have removed the rib bones from one half of the whale. It’s getting a little bit smelly! When the scientists lifted the intestine out, I could see it was attached by a thin but very tough membrane and in the membrane were… Not chicken pox! Those darker lumps are lymph nodes! Lymph channels… Read more »

How baby whales feed


Above you see the tongue of the baby pygmy right whale. Whales lips aren’t flexible enough to form a suction around the mother’s nipple like human babies do. To latch on to the mother’s nipple, a baby whale curls its tongue. A good suction is assisted by the flaps on either side of the tongue… Read more »

Update from scientists-rib structure


The scientists are removing the muscle layer to reveal the pygmy right whale’s unusual bone structure. This is Dr Sentiel Rommel’s thoughts on the rib structure: You can see the ribs gradually changing to the unique flattened and overlapping ribs on the right. the space between the ribs allows them to move as the whale… Read more »

Hairs? on a whale?


I was a bit surprised to find out that whales have hair! Cath Kemper said: ‘Most whales and dolphins are born with a few hairs on their face. Most will lose these hairs within weeks of birth but some species, such as humpbacks and maybe pygmy right whales, retain them as adults.’

Bites on the whale


It was earlier blogged that the wounds on the whale were from cookie cutter sharks. Te Papa’s Fish collection manager, Andrew Stewart, came to have a look and this is his expert opinion: ‘Based on where the whale came ashore, the scars are probably from the cookie cutter rather than the seal shark (a larger… Read more »

Taking it carefully


The dissection of the pygmy right whale is a very detailed and time consuming process! A quick update: the skin and blubber has been removed from half of the whale as you can see above. And our pygmy right whale is a young male, probably no older than 6 months old. The scientists will be… Read more »

Layers of muscle


From Bruce Reidenburg: The scientists are now exploring the layers of muscle on the sides of the whale. There is an interesting highly developed muscle that is special to the youngest baby whales. Since fetal whales are curled sideways in utero, this special adapted muscle unfolds the tail after the whale is born. In people… Read more »

Beautiful baleen


Morning! If you’ve managed to go to the Whales|Tohorā exhibition here at Te Papa then you’ll have come across the pieces of baleen. Some whales have teeth – others have baleen. Baleen sort of looks like bristley paintbrushes hanging down either side in a whale’s mouth. It acts like a big sieve or tea strainer…. Read more »

Network problem

We’re experiencing network connection problems in the room where our whale bloggers are. We are trying to fix it as fast as we can in order to resume blogging. Sorry about the inconvenience.