Tail flukes of a southern right whale

Article: Wired on the age of whales

Wired published a thoughtful article recently that reminded me – indirectly – of something in Callum Roberts’s book The Unnatural History of the Sea. In that book, Roberts describes how early travellers to new parts of the planet described the unfamiliar species they encountered, and invariably followed that description with instructions on how to kill it, or how to prepare it for consumption and what it tasted like.

The Wired article describes how a bowhead whale – a wonderfully long-lived species that can possibly survive 200 years – was found with a 130 year old harpoon tip embedded in its neck. The harpoon tip was manufactured in the late 1800s in New Bedford, an American whaling centre from whence Ishmael set sail in search of Moby-Dick.

The article isn’t specifically about whales – the author is concerned with the connectedness of technology and biology, and with “long data”, but it’s a thought-provoking juxtaposition of strange bedfellows.

Read the full article here.

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Lapsed mathematician, creator of order, formulator of hypotheses. Lover of the ocean, being outdoors, the bush, reading, photography, travelling (especially in Africa) and road trips.

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