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#48860 - 11/28/01 12:44 AM Breaking News about Whale Ears  
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Not to be confused with elephant ears or elephant ears, eNature.com reports this about whale ears:

...the age of certain whales can be determined by examining their ears.

The ear wax of Fin Whales and some other species of baleen whales is different from the kind that clogs our own ears. The whale variety forms a hard plug that seems to improve hearing rather than impair it. Also, the ear wax of these whales thickens in distinct layers each year -- two layers annually for the Fin Whale, while the Humpback Whale appears to add four layers of ear wax per year.

Once a person knows the appropriate rate of wax buildup for a given species, it's relatively easy to calculate the whale's age. Unfortunately, the whale must be dead in order for its ear plug to be extracted and studied. The surest method for determining the age of a living whale is to check its ID.


...now what I'd like to see is a close-up view of whale ears. Also, since that whale ear wax improves the whales' hearing, do our auditory engineers put it to any practical use?

In an attempt to keep the Word Safari active,
WildWord



#48861 - 11/28/01 02:05 AM Re: Breaking News about Whale Ears  
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Dear WW: I found a picture of a Minke whale ear dissected, showing a "tympanic bulla" which may be a thickened ear drum to withstand pressure associated with deep dive. But, alas, no wax
http://www.multim.com/baleines/BaleinesA.html


#48862 - 11/28/01 10:05 AM Re: Breaking News about Whale Ears  
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wwh, some words from the link (thanks for providing it):

Osmoregulation
Odontocetes
Mysticetes
The tympanic bulla
finger glove
malleus
incus
stapes in the oval window.

Care to comment in layman's terms?

Beast regards,
WhaleWind


#48863 - 11/28/01 03:54 PM Re: Breaking News about Whale Ears  
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Dear WW: The whales are divided into two big groups. The odontocetes have teeth, and can eat such things as giant squid. The other group, the mysticetes have giant strainers like combs made of baleen, strong but flexible teeth to strain out of the water tiny creatures they feed on. This was the material from which corsets and hoopskirts were made of long ago. In looking up baleen in dictionary, I was surprised to find it comes from the Greek word for whale - phallus - said to have been suggested by the shape of the whale. (Somebody was thinking big!)


#48864 - 02/06/02 07:35 AM Re: Breaking News about Whale Ears  
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stales Offline
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Recently visited the Whale World museum at Albany, in southern Western Australia (converted from an old whaling station). They had several whale "ear bones" on display - either from a sperm whale or a humpback whale, I'm unsure. They were about grapefruit size and looked like a grotesque 3D caricature of Winston Churchill's head. Apparently whalers used to paint facial features on them for a bit of fun.

stales


#48865 - 02/06/02 04:41 PM Re: Breaking News about Whale Ears  
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There have been stories in news recently about Navy Sonar damaging whale ears so badly whales die.


#48866 - 03/08/02 05:22 PM Re: Breaking News about Whale Ears  
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Dear Stales,

Now somehow strangely forever connected will be Winston Churchill, whales' ears, and grapefruits....

Did the artists paint Churchill's face onto the bones? And which of the bones? The hammer? (If a whale has a hammer bone?) The anvil? (If a whale has an anvil?) The stirrup? (If......stirrup?)

Or: Does the whale ear bone naturally look like Churchill? And, if so, what mystical significance is there in the fact that the whale's ear bone looks like Churchill? That couldn't be coincidental, if true, you know!! That's got to be some darned importantly significant bit of synchronicity!

Best regards,
Whalewind


#48867 - 03/08/02 05:28 PM Re: Breaking News about Whale Ears  
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And just to see how much tsuwm reads:

I would suggest that some whales are probably more navicularly shaped than others. Care to start a list of the most navicularly shaped whales?

Best regards,
Windbag


#48868 - 03/08/02 06:49 PM Re: Breaking News about Whale Ears  
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sorry but if you are going to start talking about whales and bones in the same sentence, i feel compelled to point out, when a whale gets a boner, he uses his phallic bone! whales, and several other (mostly aquatic) animals, have bones in their pelvic area to help them get, and keep, it up. phallic bones can be as long as 6 feet! (almost 2 meters)

and now like connie, i'll just whistle, and move along, all nice and quiet..


#48869 - 03/08/02 07:20 PM .  
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