Pygmy Right Whale Dissected

This is really interesting. Scientists at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa are dissecting a pygmy right whale, you can read all about it at their blog. One interesting bit concerns a common creationist claim about whales:

Above you see the tongue of the baby pygmy right whale. Whales lips aren’t flexible enough to form a suction around the mother’s nipple like human babies do.
To latch on to the mother’s nipple, a baby whale curls its tongue. A good suction is assisted by the flaps on either side of the tongue – you can see one of them above. As the baby whale gets older and is no longer suckling, the flaps will mostly disappear.

Follow the link to see the picture, it’s cool, and be sure to read the rest of the entries.

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2 Responses

  1. http://udel.edu/~mcdonald/mythtongueroll.html
    Here’s an interesting article about tongue rolling in humans. The ability to do so is genetically influenced, but is not a simple Mendelian trait as is popularly thought. It could certainly serve as an example of evolution, where a mutation (inability to roll the tongue) would be “neutral” in humans would be passed on, while such a mutation in whales would be lethal, and lost to the population.

  2. http://udel.edu/~mcdonald/mythtongueroll.html
    Here’s an interesting article about tongue rolling in humans. The ability to do so is genetically influenced, but is not a simple Mendelian trait as is popularly thought. It could certainly serve as an example of evolution, where a mutation (inability to roll the tongue) would be “neutral” in humans would be passed on, while such a mutation in whales would be lethal, and lost to the population.

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