Gashamna, Hornsund, Whale Bones - 7
A group of whale skull remains, 5 in the foreground. The long curved piece is the rostrum from which hangs the baleen or "whale bone" which is made of keratin, like hair, nails and hooves and not bone at all. In life the rostrum would be sticking out from the large knobbly part of the skull, the pair of rounded protuberances on each skull remains would have articulated with the first vertebra in life, so as they are arranged here the whale would be sticking head down and tail up. The rostrum would therefore be sticking directly down into the ground if they hadn't been removed. Removal of the rostrum from the large and heavy rest of the skull was probably to facilitate the removal of its attached baleen plates.
Photo; © Paul Ward - These are pictures from a cruise around Svalbard inside the Arctic Circle in high summer.