16
Dec
13

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

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4 Responses to “A Bone of Contention”



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