Sunday, December 23, 2007

An Ode to Whales

There is something fascinating about whales and dolphins. I remember giving a lecture in school on Lipids (an 'A' level biology subtopic) and as a digression, I told the class a story about Whaling in Nantucket in the 18th century. Its somewhat related to lipids as the whaling industry was mainly based on the lipid found in the spermaceti of the sperm whale. A large whale could provide up to 3 tons of that valuable wax which was odorless and non-oily to the touch.

Anyway, I played some sound clips of whales singing (yes, they do sing and in different dialects too, depending on which pod they belong to) and after that auditory experience, the students (about 300) clapped and cheered. There must be something mesmerizing about whales in our human psyche. I was glad to know that most students displayed a sense of biophilia, sensu E.O. Wilson.

Scientifically, Cetaceans are animals belonging to the Order Cetacea, which, include whales, dolphins and porpoises.

Actually the reason why I am posting here is because I came across this article about whaling in Japan and its just inexplicable that whaling still occurs. Hey, I understand if the IƱupiat Eskimos do it to survive (see my post on a book I read about Eskimo whaling) but to state scientific reasons for whaling is entirely beyond reasonable acceptance. Its like killing cats randomly and saying we need data.

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Whaling: The Japanese position

Note this statement - "Over a six-month period, it will kill 1,000 whales as part of what it says is a scientific research programme."

I am no whale fanatic but they are just lovely creatures. I have had nice dreams about dolphins and whales too and those were deep and meaningful ones for me. They at least represent the wonders that nature has produced. And at most, are inspiring to many people. Scientifically, the are really peculiar and interesting ends of the evolutionary tree. See link below about the recent fossil discovery that shed new light on the evolutionary research to trace which extinct land-dwelling mammals were the probable ancestors of Cetaceans

Deerlike Mammal Was Whale Ancestor?

Ivan's Dolphins Galaxia and Into the Deep feature some whale and dolphin sounds. They are so enchanting and give a sensitive dimension to the music.

My point is "Stop Whaling!"

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