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Engraving of the skeleton of a bow head whale

Engraving of the skeleton of a bow head whale

Z920/0004

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Credit

SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Whale skeleton. Engraving of the skeleton of a bow head or Greenland whale, Balaena mysticetus. B. mysticetus is the only species in its genus and lives in the Arctic Ocean. It is up to 18.3 metres long, of which 40% can be made up by the head (at left). Whales are mammals which are desc- ended from land animals. Despite their streamlin- ed, fish-like bodies, they retain the bones of vestigial limbs (at centre right and right). The large mouth of B. mysticetus is normally filled with horn plates, known as baleen (not seen here), which it uses to filter out tiny animals from water. Many species of whale are endangered because of hunting. Image from 1866.

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