GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Nineteenth century illustration of manned whaling long-boats with harpooners. This whaling method of launching long-boats from a mother ship was used to hunt the bowhead whale and the Atlantic right whale, amongst others. Reports by late 16th century explorers of whales in the Arctic, led many European countries to begin to hunt them. Long-boats and hand-held harpoons were used. Until the harpoon gun was invented, to be used on steam- powered ships. By the 1970s, efficient whaling methods had led to the near extinction of many whale species before an international ban was imposed. Whale meat is used for food; whale oil for cosmetics; ambergris for perfumes.
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