Wednesday, 23 April 2014

A Belly Full Of Beaks

Joel N. Shurkin, ISNS Contributor | April 21, 2014 07:10pm ET

(ISNS)--Marine biologists, probing two rare species of sperm whales, are establishing a baseline for the health of the animals and the environment they live in by rummaging through the stomach contents of dead whales.

It will be a way of getting data on animals scientists know little about, and keeping track of environmental changes in the ocean.

Michelle Staudinger, now adjunct assistant professor of environmental conservation at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, even sorted through specimens at the Smithsonian Institution for whales that died in the 19th century, although most of the specimens came from whales found dead on Atlantic beaches between 1998 and 2001.

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