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Images: WHOI CSI Lab Investigates Rare Whales

Rarely seen alive or dead, a True’s beaked whale was found dead on a Long Island beach on Jan. 5, 2014. Soon after this 14-foot-long adult female was found, the body of a juvenile True's beaked whale, likely the adult’s calf, was found on the beach. The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation took charge of the cases and contacted biologist Darlene Ketten at WHOI to examine the heads and ears, while Riverhead examined the bodies. (Photo courtesy of Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation)

The heads of two True’s beaked whale were transported to WHOI’s Computerized Scanning and Imaging facility, where biologist Darlene Ketten and CT technologist Julie Arruda scanned them. Scientists from around the world use this scanner for research on marine mammals and animals ranging from shrimp to elephants. (Jayne Doucette, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

WHOI's CT scanner generates images of animals' internal structure, showing denser tissues in lighter grays and less-dense tissues in darker grays. In this cross-section image of a True's beaked whale head, the earbones, the densest bones in its body, show up as bright white. (Courtesy of Darlene Ketten, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Computerized Scanning and Imaging lab)

A color 3-D CT scan of the head of a male calf True’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon mirus) reveals a characteristic of this species—tusks. In the adult female whale, the tusks were embedded in the jaw. But in the very young male calf, the tusks—the triangular projections at the tip of the jaw—had already erupted. (Courtesy of Darlene Ketten, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Computerized Scanning and Imaging lab)

Kimberly Durham, director of rescue programs at the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation on Long Island, during the rescue of a dolphin in 2013. (Photo courtesy of Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation)