Sunday, July 08, 2007

19th Century Weapon Found in Whale
The AP reported an interesting story recently...a 19th century weapon was found in a whale that was hunted off the coast of Alaska in May 2007. It is believed that the weapon was shot at the whale in the late 1800's, and the whales estimated age is between 115 years and 130 years old. It was a Bowhead whale and some reports indicate that Bowhead whales can live to be 200+ years old...pretty amazing. The whale probably had more life to live, but it was hunted as part of a native whale hunt. The whale was about 49 feet long and was male. The weapon was lodged in a bone between its neck and its shoulder blade. The type of weapon is an exploding device. Once it is shot into the whale, it explodes and is supposed to kill the whale. Often, as in this case, the weapon does not kill the whale, or does not kill the whale instantly, causing a slow and painful death. This whale escaped death the first time many decades ago, but not the second. These explosive devices are still used today and are often viewed as's easy to see why. Here is a picture of the weapon that was recovered from the whale (left), along with an in-tact weapon (middle) and a ruler (right). (The photo in this post is from the AP and appeared in a story on USA Today's web site.)