Posts categorized as Whales | Tohorā

Hairs? on a whale?

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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

cookie-cutter-marks

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

what-lies-beneaths

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

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

baleen-close-up

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 »

Necro… what?

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That got your attention! I’ve been learning some dissection terms. Autopsy is generally used in relation to humans and looks at cause of death. A necropsy usually refers to animals. It looks at how the animal’s body works as well as the possible cause of death. Here’s a picture of the pygmy right whale fresh… Read more »

We had a whale of a time…

  • Dolphin Detective
  • Dolphin Detective
  • Dolphin Detective
  • Dolphin Detectives at Te Papa

On Monday evening 40 or so children had a blast in the Whales|Tohorā exhibition being “Dolphin Detectives”, all thanks to the Friends of Te Papa. Anton van Helden, Te Papa’s marine mammal scientist, was assisted by the kids and his four specially equipped assistants (complete with dolphin dorsal fins). We divided everyone up into four teams – the sperm… Read more »