[MARMAM] Grey whale bone morphology and osteometrics, help needed

Klaus Barthelmess barthval at t-online.de
Wed Feb 18 08:44:57 PST 2009

Dear colleagues,

I am cooperating with a small North German museum to prepare a little
exhibition on "cetaceans in the North Sea", which is to open in a few weeks.

We are planning to do a poster or two on the extinct North Atlantic grey
whale and may be able to get two mandible fragments of some five feet length
each as a temporary loan. They were dredged up from the North Sea by a fish
trawler and are said by the owner to have been identified as grey whale

As authenticated bone finds of the North Atlantic grey whale are exceedingly
scarce, I want to verify this tentative identification before initiating the
loan process and putting them on display.

Can anyone provide me with some guidelines for the identification of grey
whale mandibles, their morphology and osteometrics, esp. for clues as to
telling them from balaenopterid and balaenid jawbones?

It has been a while that I saw them, but I do not recall the presence of
tips and condyls on these fragments. If I remember the looks of grey whale
mandibles in Japanese collections correctly, likewise seen a long while ago,
I think I recall the presence of comparatively many openings for blood
vessels on these bones. Can that recollection be correct?

Your help will be much appreciated and be properly credited on the poster.

For the same poster(s), we would also like to show a pic or two of benthic
foraging of grey whales. If you have any such images and were willing to
allow us to reproduce them on our poster - aaarrrrgh ... free of charge -
this would equally be much appreciated and properly credited.

Thanks for your thoughts and any - given the deadline: quick - input!

With greasy greetings from Cologne,

Klaus Barthelmess

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