Subject: whale vertebrae

Leah R. Gerber (
Tue, 29 Jul 1997 15:37:55 -0700

>At 09:10 AM 7/22/97 -0700, Karen Himes wrote:
>Hi, I'm writing because I need the advice of a marine mammal expert. :-)
>My name is Emi Stevens and I'm interning for Karen Himes (hence the email
>account) in the Education Division of the Natural History Museum of Los
>Angeles County.  I'm currently trying to put together a "discovery box" of
>whale artifacts for children, and have run into a labeling problem.
>We have a few baleen whale vertebrae which I can identify, but included
>with them were some circular bony disks that I can't confidently identify.
>I want to assume they fit between the vertebrae, but as this is a musuem
>with museum clutter and I can't be sure of anything.
>If you can glean enough info from this mail to possibly tell me where the
>disks might fit, I would be forever greatful.
>Thank you,
>Emi Stevens

Dear Emi,

Baleen whales do have vertebral disks that vary from approximately 5-10
inches in length.  I think it would be safe to say the disks you describe
belong in between the vertebrae of a baleen whale.

Have fun and good luck! Leah