Jan 18 2013 5:00pm

There Are Whales Living Now That Were Born Before Moby Dick Was Written

There are Whales Living Now That Were Born Before Moby Dick Was Written

Recently the Smithsonian Magazine highlighted an interesting tidbit from this Alaska Dispatch article about the recovering bowhead whale population. Since bowheads live for over 200 years, that means the older whales amongst the current population were born before Moby Dick was written!

Not only that, but these bowhead whales also avoided being killed by a massively active whaling industry that reduced their numbers to a mere 1000. Spit your last breath at that, Ahab!

[News via The Smithsonian, Art via Arctic Whales]

Ian Johnson
1. IanPJohnson
I remember hearing a story about Japanese whale "researchers" in the early '00s capturing and killing a right whale off the coast of Antarctica– and discovering that it had a Viking harpoon still embedded in its blubber dating back to about 900 CE.

Don't know if that story is apocryphal or not, though.
Chris O.
2. Chris O.
You were probably thinking of this:,2933,281512,00.html

It's not from the vikings, but it's still impressive.
S. Blessing
3. tonka11
Fascinating stuff, both the Bowheads and the harpoon recollection. Old Ruthy Hayes in the Oval Office, eh? Although, probably no Oval Office at that time, lol.

I had no idea they lived that long, but not at all surprised. What magnificent creatures!
James Hogan
4. Sonofthunder
Whales ftw! I now have the urge to watch Star Trek IV...

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