Subject: Aging sperm whales

Kim Marshall (
Sun, 31 Oct 1999 17:12:49 -0500

Reply: Dear Jeroen,
Toothed whales such as sperm whales can be aged by counting growth rings in
their teeth.  These rings are usually narrow translucent lines along with a
wider opaque lamination which forms an annual growth layer.  For more
information please check out WhaleNet, specifically their book section, at .  I
referenced a book by Peter Evans,The Natural History of Whales and
Dolphins, 1987, Facts on File,Inc. 460 Park Ave.South,New York,NY  10016.
Good luck with your project!

hello Kim - I'm working in a dutch museum (that's called "Museon") and I am
>an educational website about whales (especially about sperm whales).  I've
>got a question about the teeth of sperm whales. I've read somewhere that
>you can estimate the age by counting the rings in the middle of the teeth.
>But how do you that? What rings do you have to count (the white and the
>brown ones, or just the white ones)?

Kim Marshall-Tilas
Whale Conservation Institute/Ocean Alliance
191 Weston Road
Lincoln, MA  01773
(781) 259-0423
fax: 259-0288