You eat what you are

20 March 2012

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In 1945, two beaked whales became stranded on the beach near San Diego during two separate incidents. Carl Hubbs, a biologist working at Scripps Oceanographic Institute examined the two whales and wrote descriptions of the whales published the following year in the Journal of Mammology. Along with the customary remarks about skull shape and penis size Hubbs provided a rather curious detail in his description of the second whale, pictured above:

The meat was very red and turned blackish on holding, but was of good flavor and tender when roasted or fried. About 100 pounds were eaten by local residents. This addition to the war-rationed meat supply was much enjoyed.

Hubbs initially suspected the delectable marine mammal was Mesoplodon stejnegeribut revised his identification to Mesoplodon bowdoini following a tip from cetology demi-god Remington Kellogg. Some years later Joseph Curtis Moore reexamined the leftovers saved by Hubbs and realized the remains represented a species hitherto unknown to science. Thus Moore designated the remains the type specimen of a brand new species he named, Mesoplodon carlhubbsi commonly now known as “Hubbs’ beaked whale.”

Hubbs, CL (1946) First records of two beaked whales, Mesoplodon bowdoini and Ziphius cavirostirs, from the Pacific coast of the United States. Journal of Mammology Vol. 27, No. 3, pp. 242-255

Moore JC (1963) Recognizing certain species of beaked whales of the Pacific Ocean. American Midland Naturalist Vol. 70, No. 2 pp. 396-428.

One Response to “You eat what you are”


  1. […] of Mesoplodon carlhubbsi. Note the hoodie. Guess I’m lucky I wasn’t shot, described and eaten, eh […]


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