Necropsy of Incubus

Photos by Peter Stevick

On May 19, 1995, a dead humpback washed up on a beach on Great Island, Massachusetts. From the patterns on the underside of the flukes, researchers identified this whale as Incubus, a 4-year old male. Scientists from all over the Gulf of Maine traveled to the site to assist with the necropsy. Allied Whale researchers stayed for two days. They stripped the bones of meat and transported the skeleton back to College of the Atlantic where it will be articulated and displayed on campus.

Greg Early of the New England Aquarium begins the long process of necropsying this young humpback. The blubber of this animal was quite thick, indicating that it had probably not been ill for long.

Researchers extract and examine the organs of this young humpback. When a carcass shows no external signs of trauma, the internal organs often contain clues which indicate the cause of death. In this case, no cause of death was determined.


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