Severe Bone Loss as Part of the Life History Strategy of Bowhead Whales.

Title

Severe Bone Loss as Part of the Life History Strategy of Bowhead Whales.

Creator

George John C; Stimmelmayr Raphaela; Suydam Robert; Usip Sharon; Givens Geof; Sformo Todd; Thewissen J G M

Publisher

PloS one

Date

2016
2016

Description

The evolution of baleen constituted a major evolutionary change that made it possible for baleen whales to reach enormous body sizes while filter feeding on tiny organisms and migrating over tremendous distances. Bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) live in the Arctic where the annual cycle of increasing and decreasing ice cover affects their habitat, prey, and migration. During the nursing period, bowheads grow rapidly; but between weaning and approximately year 5, bowhead whales display sustained baleen and head growth while limiting growth in the rest of their bodies. During this period, they withdraw resources from the skeleton, in particular the ribs, which may lose 40% of bone mass. Such dramatic changes in bones of immature mammals are rare, although fossil cetaceans between 40 and 50 million years ago show an array of rib specializations that include bone loss and are usually interpreted as related to buoyancy control.

Subject

Animals; *Life History Traits; Bone and Bones/diagnostic imaging/pathology; Bone Resorption/*pathology; Bowhead Whale/*growth & development; Tomography; X-Ray Computed; Computer-Assisted; Image Processing

Rights

Article information provided for research and reference use only. All rights are retained by the journal listed under publisher and/or the creator(s).

Pages

e0156753–e0156753

Issue

6

Volume

11

Citation

George John C; Stimmelmayr Raphaela; Suydam Robert; Usip Sharon; Givens Geof; Sformo Todd; Thewissen J G M, “Severe Bone Loss as Part of the Life History Strategy of Bowhead Whales.,” NEOMED Bibliography Database, accessed September 18, 2021, https://neomed.omeka.net/items/show/4957.

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