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pilot whale skeleton

Bones about it

The skeleton of a pilot whale (Globicephala melaena) hangs in the lower-level foyer of the Marine Research Facility on the Quissett campus of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). The whale was found stranded on Gay Head, Martha’s Vineyard, in the 1960s. WHOI biologist Bill Schevill collected the carcass and WHOI technician Andrew Konnerth assembled the skeleton for display. Pilot whales range throughout the temperate latitudes on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Equipped with inch-long, conical teeth, they are voracious hunters of prey including herring, mackerel, capelin, and their favorite, squid. Among the bones that can be seen here are multiple ribs and vertebrae, the three-part sternum (st), and the bones of the forelimbs: scapula or shoulder blade (sc), humerus (h), radius (r), ulna (u), and phalanges (p). The pelvic bones and head structures are out of view.

(Photo by Alexander Dorsk, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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