A Bone of Contention

It’s quite amazing the amount of rubbish the storm surge threw up on the local beaches. My good friend Tony was getting quite depressed at the amount of rubbish here on the tideline at Overstrand. The sewage, diesel and oil will be dealt with by Mother Nature. They’re natural or ‘near-natural’ products and she’s equipped to deal with them. It’s the plastics that are the problem. You don’t have to search too hard on the internet to see what a devastating effect they can have on the environment and on wildlife. They take a long long time to degrade. There is now even evidence that some microbe communities are attaching themselves to plastics and helping to rasp them down to ever smaller and smaller particles – but they never biodegrade – just get smaller. They will always be present in the environment.

The surge also moved a lot of shingle and sand around reshaping the coastline, it’s thrown up an odd surprise or two as well.

While doing some work clearing up one of the coastal footpaths Ed Smith found a whale bone. Thanks to the experts at the Natural History Museum it’s been possible to narrow it down to being a single, caudal chevron bone from the ventral surface (underside) of the caudal (tail) region of the vertebral column of a large whale, possibly a sperm whale, though species identification is not possible from Ed’s photographs. Chevron bones serve to protect major blood vessels in the tail region of cetaceans.

Who knows how long the bone has been lying undetected among the shingle and sand.

Photos copyright Ed Smith

2013 12 09 Chevron Bone possibly Sperm Whale  Stiffkey Norfolk TF973441 1 Ed Smith

2013 12 09 Chevron Bone possibly Sperm Whale  Stiffkey Norfolk TF973441 2 Ed Smith

4 Responses to “A Bone of Contention”

    • Dec 18, 2013 at 5:32 pm

      It probably originated from a Sperm Whale beached in the area some 12 years ago.

      • Dec 18, 2013 at 5:40 pm

        That makes it even more amazing! What do you do with it?

        I find it such a pity that The Whalebone House in Cley always looks so deserted, My grandfather was a whalehunter in Norway after the war.

        Happy Holidays to you and yours – I have just packed my suitcase,
        I’m off to North Norfolk first thing in the morning.
        Love, Dina

      • Dec 18, 2013 at 5:52 pm

        Likewise to you and yours – enjoy your stay in Norfolk.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Dec 2013


%d bloggers like this: