A 2.7-metre, 240-kilo beaked whale caused a splash this week when it was found beached near Ferring on the west coast of Jutland.
The deceased whale is extremely rare and researchers know very little about the whale family to which it belongs. The ‘Ziphiidae’ family consists of just 22 species, some of which have never been observed alive.
“It’s always very interesting when a rare animal washes ashore,” said Morten Tange Olsen, the curator for ocean marine mammals at the Natural History Museum of Denmark.
“This time it is extra interesting because it is still completely fresh, which means we can perform more scientific tests and perhaps gain insight into some of the many unanswered questions about the beaked whale’s life, biology and kinship.”
Acclimatised to the abysss
The Zoological Museum in Copenhagen will dissect the toothed whale at its workshop on Saturday – an event open to the public that will take place between 10:00 and 15:00.
Beaked whales often live far from coastal areas, diving to extreme depths to eat octopus and other food on the edge of continental shelves. A beaked whale holds the current diving record for whales at nearly 3 km.
The whale found in Denmark was a young male and discovered by a local citizen walking their dog.