MY DAUGHTER WANTS TO KNOW WHAT THE "BUMPS" ARE ON A HUMPBACK? I HAVE BEEN TOLD THAT THEY ARE CALLED STOVE BOLTS?IS THIS INFO TRUE? WHAT ARE THEY USED FOR OR HOW DO THEY AID THE HUMPBACK? THANK-YOU FOR YOUR TIME
MRS. MARTY A. LANCE
The knobs on the humpback's head were once called 'stove bolts' by the Yankee whalers. Scientists call these tubercles (two'-bur-kuls) or sensory nodules. Each are about the size of a golf ball. The turbercles are distributed on the humpback's upper and lower jaws and along the lips in about the same area that facial hair is found on humans. The number of tubercles varies from whale to whale, with each possessing a unique tubercle pattern. Each tubercle contains a hair follicle, sometimes with a single ligh gray vibrrissa about 0.5 to 1.05 inches long. There is some suggestion that the tubercle acts as a sensory organ, but their exact function is unknown.
Hope this helps,
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