Humpback Wale Vertebra
Sometimes called the “canary of the sea”, male humpbacks are renowned for their haunting, melodic vocalizations called whale songs. Their short bodies and signature “humped” back readily identifies the humpbacks. This thoracic vertebra and associated intervertebral discs are from a large 42-foot long female that washed up along the coast of New England. Whale ribs loosely articulate with their thoracic vertebrae at the proximal end but unlike land mammals, they do not connect with a sternum to form a rigid ‘rib cage’. This adaptation allows their chest to compress during deep dives rather than resist the tremendous forces of water pressure they find at great depths.