Little-known facts about the giant beaked whale

  • There are two species of giant beaked whale: Baird’s beaked whale and Arnoux’s beaked whale.
  • Arnoux’s beaked whale, first described in 1851, was named for the doctor on the ship that transported the skull from New Zealeand to France. Baird’s beaked whale (1883, Bering Sea) is named for Spencer Fullerton Baird, who was once a Secretary of the Smithsonian.
  • The only difference between the two species is that one lives in the “north”, the other in the “south”.
  • And maybe the Arnoux’s giant beaked whales are a little smaller.
  • We’re talking, 12 meters or so for the Arnoux’s, 12-13 for the Baird.
  • So we’ll just say, “giant beaked whale” for now.
  • Giant beaked whales and moving parts: not a match made in heaven.
  • Although: a giant beaked whale is not without a sense of humor. When its car breaks down on its way to have its iBook repaired, it must chuckle.
  • When its car is finally repaired and it is driving into town to pick up its electric cello from the post office, and it leaves extra super early because the office opens at 6.30 so, you know, it can take care of this on its way to work and it calculates extra time for getting lost, and then as soon as it is on the freeway there is a gigantic traffic jam because a truck turned over and when it passes the truck it sees it was a double-long truck loaded with dirt, it must chuckle again.
  • And when it finally buys a new Macbook because the old one could not be saved, the shop is nice and migrates all its data, and it gets a surprise discount on the Macbook due to some sale, so it buys iLife; and when it gets home and discovers that it already has all the iLife programs pre-installed, it has another chuckle.
  • Finally, sitting on the sofa with the new toy, trying out programs, it finds one unfamiliar one that opens up a very ugly picture on the screen that it gradually realizes is 1. a picture of a giant beaked whale 2. of this particular GBW, in fact, and 3. is moving, which it quickly figures out means it must be a live webcam feed. It’s all chuckled out by this point however, and observes itself with horror, vowing to lose a little weight and do something about those jowls, and that hair, Christ.
  • This despite the fact that the giant beaked whale is rather slender, with girth less than 50% of length
  • Although females are larger than the males, making them preferable as targets, 2/3 of those caught by whalers are males.
  • The behavior of Arnoux’s beaked whale is largely a mystery, but scientists figure it is not much different from that of Baird’s beaked whales.

6 responses to “Little-known facts about the giant beaked whale

  1. joeri

    *heh* I first read “giant baked whale” instead of “beaked”

  2. mig

    popular recipe among japanese scientists

  3. Sounds fishy, if you ask me.

    Even if GBWs really are mammals.

  4. The “baked” whale

  5. D

    I hope that GBW-cam wasn’t live to the rest of the cetecean population.

  6. mig

    so does the beaked whale.