Subject: Re: Whale Age

Tom Ford (
Thu, 12 Dec 96 08:34:42 -0500

>If possible, could you please reply before 13 Dec.  I am interested in 
>how a scientist would determine the age of a whale?  I appreciate your 
>prompt response.  Thanks.

Approximate age determination in toothed whales can be determined by 
counting the growth layers in the dentin of a sample tooth. Baleen whales 
have no teeth but growth layers do occur in the waxy plugs of the 
external ear. Right and bowhead whales have growth layers in the bone 
surrounding the ossicles of the inner ear. A developing technique 
compares the racemisation of aspartic acid from left handed molecules to 
right  handed enantiomorphs. 

 If this is not clear enough let me know.
                                        Dr. Tom Ford