Freitag, 15. März 2013

The common porpoise

To get a skull of a marine mammal isn’t that easy nowadays, because most of them are endangered and need CITES papers. Sometimes it is also forbidden to sell or to buy these skulls or parts of marine mammals such as some kind of whales. I’m fine with these laws, because these animals need our protection! So I was very lucky to find a skull of a common porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) on Ebay – fully legal mind you. More about the story and photos under the cut!

This skull was found in 1963 on the shores of the isle Tarschelling, which belongs to Netherland. As mentioned before I bought this skull legally and it doesn’t need any CITES papers, because the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (short: CITES) was founded in the year 1973, so my common porpoise died long before.

The skull is about 22cm long.
Common porpoises are very small toothed whales. The length of these animals is about 1.85 meters. Looking at my skull makes me think this animal wasn’t that big at all. It’s a find at the beach so the skull doesn’t have teeth anymore and the lower jaw is missing, too.

The two holes are the respiratory tracts.
Too bad, no teeth anymore.
Strange foramen magnum.
The population of common porpoises is dwindling at an alarming rate! Noise disturbances from boats and reckless mass fishing are two main reasons for that problem. That’s so very sad. I hope we can stop that before it’s too late for these beautiful animals...

Picture from Wikipedia.

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