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Posts Tagged "whales"

@ScientificAmerican

Scientific American Co-Hosts Whale Tweet-Up at American Museum of Natural History

whale skeletons

Captain Ahab went insane chasing the elusive Moby Dick. Good news: you don’t have to suffer a similar fate. On May 1 at 6:30pm, Scientific American will co-host a whale-themed tweet-up and reception in partnership with the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. The event is timed to coincide with the recent [...]

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Brainwaves

Know Your Neurons: What Is the Ratio of Glia to Neurons in the Brain?

Previously, on Know Your Neurons: Chapter 1: The Discovery and Naming of the Neuron Chapter 2: How to Classify Different Types of Neurons Chapter 3: Meet the Glia Chapter 4: What is the Ratio of Glia to Neurons in the Brain? By Daisy Yuhas and Ferris Jabr Last time on Know Your Neurons, we talked [...]

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Expeditions

Wildlife watch!

A running joke among oceanographers who don’t study whales and dolphins is the fact that everyone *thinks* they study whales and dolphins. For the people onboard who are so committed to their plankton, however, they sure do get excited about dolphins and whales. On Thursday, someone spotted some small whales in the water and as [...]

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Expeditions

Squid “jigging” brings elusive cephalopods up from Sea of Cortez

humboldt squid jumbo sea of cortez stanford biology cruise gilly

Editor’s Note: William Gilly, a professor of cell and developmental biology and marine and organismal biology at Stanford University, is traveling with a group of students on board the Don José in the Sea of Cortez. They will monitor and track Humboldt squid and sperm whales in their watery habitats. This is the group’s third [...]

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Expeditions

Students embark on holistic biology cruise to track squid, whales

whale jumping sea of cortez stanford biology cruise gilly

Editor’s Note: William Gilly, a professor of cell and developmental biology and marine and organismal biology at Stanford University, is traveling with a group of students on board the Don José in the Sea of Cortez. They will monitor and track Humboldt squid and sperm whales in their watery habitats. This is the group’s first [...]

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Expeditions

Copepods, everywhere you look (and even where you don’t)

Editor’s Note: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution oceanographer and photographer Chris Linder and science writer Helen Fields are taking part in a six-week cruise of the Bering Sea, a scientific expedition to study the effects of climate change on this polar ecosystem. This is the fifth blog post. To see all their posts, see "60 Seconds [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Cane Toads, Blue Whales, Red Wolves and Other Updates from the Brink

northern spotted owl

People often ask me, “How can you write about endangered species all the time? Isn’t it depressing?” Sure, it can be, but not as depressing as the sheer number of stories that I don’t get to write about. So let’s catch up on some of the stories that should have made headlines this month. First [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Amazing: Rarest Whale Seen for First Time in History, but Not at Sea

spade-toothed beaked whale

In another example of how little we know about the natural world, scientists recently got their first up-close glimpse at the rare and elusive spade-toothed beaked whale (Mesoplodon traversii). Tragically, the discovery was not of living whales but a mother and her male calf that died after beaching themselves. Until now, the spade-toothed beaked whale [...]

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Extinction Countdown

News from the Brink: Good News for Tasmanian Devils, Puerto Rican Parrots and Southern Right Whales

Not every story about endangered species is horrible. Sometimes there’s some good news mixed in with the bad. Although none of these stories is worth dancing in the streets over, each nonetheless merits at least a little bit of celebration. Tasmanian devil DNA Scientist from Penn State University and other institutions have completed sequencing the [...]

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Guest Blog

Stranded Whales on the Key Largo Shore

Florida mile marker 102 is easy to miss, and many of the volunteers coming to help save three struggling pilot whales have to make a U-turn on U.S. 1 before pulling into the inconspicuous dirt road marked by a small sign, "Marine Mammal Conservancy." The three young whales, two still young enough to be dependent [...]

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Guest Blog

Can you hear me now? Animals all over the world are finding interesting ways to get around the human din

It’s loud out there. All that banging and driving and dumping and flying and building we do is making the world noisier and noisier. While humans don’t seem to mind the sounds, and when we do we just put in our earplugs – animals are dealing with all the racket we make in interesting ways. [...]

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Observations

DNA Fingers Real-Life Captain Ahabs for Precipitous Decline of Gray Whales

gray whale drawing

Tens of thousands of whales were slaughtered each year for decades from the mid 1800s to the early 1900s, in the service of lighting city streets, painting ladies’ lips and providing multitudinous other modern conveniences. This monomaniacal hunt led many species to the brink of extinction. But recent research has suggested that gray whale (Eschrichtius [...]

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Observations

Giant Eyes Help Colossal Squid Spot Glowing Whales

giant squid eye

Giant and colossal squid can grow to be some 12 meters long. But that alone doesn’t explain why they have the biggest eyeballs on the planet. At 280 millimeters in diameter, colossal squid eyes are much bigger than those of the swordfish, which at 90 millimeters, measure in as the next biggest peepers. “It doesn’t [...]

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Observations

Following the evolutionary trail of massive filter feeders

whale evolution filter feeding prehistoric fish

The gargantuan plankton-eating whales of today—such as the humpback whale and the blue whale–have long been thought to be the evolutionary masters of their filter-feeding technique. New research, published online February 18 in two papers in Science, however, shows that millions of years before these massive mammals evolved, huge fish fruitfully employed the same approach—and [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Odobenocetops: ridiculous ‘walrus whales’

Odobenocetops-slide-2-600-px-tiny-Nov-2012-Tet-Zoo

I always hoped that, one day, I’d have time to talk at length about Odobenocetops, one of the strangest and most exciting of fossil cetaceans. Alas, I haven’t yet found that time, so here are a few slides on the beast from one of my fossil marine mammal lectures. Odobenocetops was originally described by Muizon [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

A peculiar whale skeleton is included fortuitously in the sci-fi movie Hunter Prey

It’s funny how things work out. We looked recently at a ‘mystery’ whale carcass from Baja California. As explained here, it turned out to be a Risso’s dolphin Grampus griseus. I recently watched a 2009 sci-fi movie called Hunter Prey. Should you wish to know more about it, the wikipedia article is pretty good. Anyway, at [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

All the whales of the world, ever (part II)

Welcome to part II of the Tet Zoo cetacean clearing house. With stem-cetaceans (‘archaeocetes’) and mysticetes out of the way (go here for part I), we come to odontocetes. Many key odontocete traits are found in the maxilla and ear region, most of which are related to soft tissue structures involved in noise-making and hearing. [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

All the whales of the world, ever (part I)

It’s apparently a good idea in scientific blogging to produce ‘clearing house’ blog articles every now and again: that is, articles that include links to all of your other articles on a given subject. I suppose anything that gets people looking anew at old articles and reminding them what you have ‘in the archives’ is [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Killer Whales in Captivity: Not a 13th Amendment Problem

An animal rights group has sued SeaWorld. Their claim is that SeaWorld should not be holding killer whales in captivity. So far, this is a fairly unsurprising story, and one that may have merit enough to debate. But here’s where the story seems to go off the rails: the argument is that the thirteenth amendment [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Whale Poop

ResearchBlogging.org

Earlier this week we talked about how to use whale snot for science. I especially enjoyed blog bff Scicurious‘s take on the study: Budgetary requirement: $5000 for series of expensive remote control helicopters. Source: Toys R Us. Justification: Need something that can fly close to a whale and collect snot for measurement. Also, this is [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Whale Snot

humpback_whale.jpg

The question is: what do you use to study the health of whales in the wild? The answer is: not what you’d think. Unlike smaller sea mammals like seals or sea lions, it is very hard to obtain blood samples from whales without first killing them. Meet Karina Acevedo-Whitehouse, from the Zoological Society of London. [...]

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