[MARINE_BIOLOGY_INTERNATIONAL] Dissecting a sperm whale on TV this week



Get the Skinny on Blubber: Inside Nature's Giants Dissects a Sperm Whale
Author: Bob Etier
Published: January 14, 2012 at 6:29 pm

On Wednesday, January 18, 2012, PBS viewers will be able to go where few have dared—to a sperm whale necropsy. That's when Inside Nature's Giants, a four-part series that explains how distinctive beasts (great white shark, sperm whale, python, lion) "evolved to thrive in their environmental niches" and explores how they function.

In the first episode, scientists have the opportunity to cut into a 45-foot deep-sea giant, a sperm whale that "stranded and died" on Pegwell Beach, Kent, England. Comparative anatomist Dr. Joy Reidenberg and veterinary scientist Mark Evans dissect the animal in an attempt to discover cause of death and reveal some of the mysteries of a sperm whale's survival in the deepest parts of the ocean.

Dissection footage is interspersed with biologist Simon Watt's visit with whale expert Malcolm Clarke and tracking of whales in the Azores, and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins' examination of enormous teeth (in the lower jaw only) that have evolved. In the course of the dissection Reidenberg (who seems to absolutely love her work) explains the complex "clicking" communication of the sperm whale and how it is accomplished, as well as the anatomy and workings of its penis (video here).

Inside Nature's Giants is not a series for everyone. Despite the fact that I stopped watching CSI after some nonsense with a human eyeball made me vomit, I was not especially nauseated by the dissection of the sperm whale. However, those who are queasy (or faint) at the sight of blood, scabs, or open wounds may find scenes of the whale's blubber being stripped away with the help of industrial machinery, or its mushy innards brought forth and examined, a bit difficult to watch.

Inside Nature's Giants will be broadcast at 10:00 p.m. Eastern (check local listings) on PBS. It is part of the Wednesday night lineup of science and natural history programs. The program is also available for purchase on DVD, and the series is the subject of a hardcover or ebook.

Read more: http://technorati.com/entertainment/tv/article/get-the-skinny-on-blubber-inside/#ixzz1jYYHo3FD

Recent Activity:

Stay on top of your group activity without leaving the page you're on - Get the Yahoo! Toolbar now.




Post a Comment