Baleen Whale Skeletal Anatomy

From: Dagmar Fertl (
Date: Mon Apr 10 2000 - 12:03:21 EDT

Hi Dagmar,

I would appreciate referral to publications showing details (photos,
drawings, diagrams, etc.) of the skeletal anatomy of baleen whales,
especially the structure of the baleen sieve that allows them to extract
krill from the water, without swallowing huge quantities of water.


Charles Caillouet
Galveston, Texas
Hi Dr. Caillouet!
You're lucky to be in the same town with Bernd Wursig, Randy Davis, and
Graham Worthy - who are all really great marine mammal biologists with great
reference libraries. There are two brand new marine mammal books that will
serve as good points to start your search for that information:

Berta and Sumich. 1999. Marine mammals: evolutionary biology. Academic

Reynolds and Rommel. 1999. Biology of Marine Mammals. Smithsonian
Institution Press.

The latter looks like it references two articles that might be helpful:

Pivorunas, A. 1977. The fibrocartilage skeleton and related structures in
the pouch of balaenopterid whales. Journal of Morphology 151: 299-314.

Pivorunas, A. 1979. The feeding mechanisms of baleen whales. American
Scientist 67: 432-440.

The former has:

Lambertsen, R.H. 1983. Internal mechanism of rorqual feeding. Journal of
Mammalogy 64(1): 76-88.

Lambertsen, R.H., N. Ulrich, and J. Straely. 1995. Frontomandibular stay of
Balaenopteridae: a mechanism for momentum recapture during feeding. Journal
of Mammalogy 76(3): 877-899.

Get Your Private, Free Email at

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat Aug 04 2001 - 10:40:12 EDT