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Another whale of a time with skull hide and seek

May 16, 2013

You may remember my previous post about Ned Kelly as the skull hide and seek champion… but now, I think he has some heavy duty competition for the title.

The skull of a Bryde’s whale – property of the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery – has gone AWOL from a beach on the South end of the Great Southern Land (Australia for any non-Icehouse fans out there… not that that is possible).

At 2m long, approximately 100kg and 100% stinky, you would imagine that the skull would have been to difficult to take from the beach, but that didnt stop some exuberant skull collector! Or maybe the Bryde’s skull thought it would take the opportunity to see some of the sights in Tasmania – a state renowned for its natural beauty (and some awesome breweries and a chocolate factory!). Particularly since it is not the natural territory for the 10m long whale.

brydes skull

Pic credit – ABC News

Now I can’t profess to know much (or anything!) about the anatomy of whale skulls, so if any one out there reading is a whale skull specialist, get in touch and tell us what makes them tick. We do know that this guy (or girl?) was a type of baleen whale, meaning there are no teeth in that mouth, but rather it would have fed by filtering water through a set of plates, trapping things that are small and delicious.

The baleen is actually made of keratin (like fingernails and hair) and not bone – and as to whether the Tasmanian scientists managed to recover the baleen from this guys skull, I have no idea!  You will have to visit the museum to see!

Thankfully the skull has now been recovered, but we definitely think this warrants a nomination in the skull hide and seek champs for 2013!

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