Friday, August 06, 2010

Hunting the beaked whales

I don't mean hunting in the Captain Ahab sense: that's illegal, and the very rareness and shyness of the beaked whales as a group prevents much killing from going on. This site is a resource for the most mysterious of mammals. (The News column seems not to have been updated in the past year: I hope that's rectified soon.) Beaked whales are one of my favorite groups of animals because they have kept so many secrets. We don't know how many species there are, or their ranges, or many of their habits. We don't know much about the cryptic species known as Mesoplodon Species A and Species B. (OK, some top cetologists think Species A has been pinned down as cospecific with M. peruvianus, but I'm not really on board with that yet.) Much of the news concerns strandings, because strandings and a few marine observations are almost all we've got to work with.
Ah, mystery...what would science be without it?

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