SciPos Montage: Creatures Below


Stephanie Smith atop a Baird's Beaked Whale. Photo by Aaron Barna.
Cooper French flensing a Baird's Beaked Whale. Photo by Aaron Barna.
A couple of weeks ago Jeff Bradley brought a bunch of volunteers from the Burke (including Steph and Cooper!) to Grayland to flens (de-blubber) and clean the bones of a whale that washed up on the beach. We also had help from some cool people from Cascadia and Highline Community College. The whale was a Baird's Beaked Whale, which is a really super duper whale that looks like a big fat dolphin, and is pretty rare, with only 4 strandings ever recorded in Washington! Here are some neat facts about Baird's Beaked Whales: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/mammals/cetaceans/beakedwhale_bairds.htm  It was a 38-foot long female and had recently given birth. We collected tissue samples from several organs, and I got to see a whale heart in real life, which is basically the size of a beach ball. Awesome. We buried the bones so they would get cleaned off, and then later we'll go dig them all up and hopefully mount the skeleton in the new Burke!! It was the best day ever.
~Steph





On another note, Eliza Heery, who does a lot of scuba diving in Puget Sound for her research, made this beautiful underwater video documenting some of what she sees diving in Seattle. Check it out!

 




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