Visits to zoological collections

I am in Seattle for the Alaska Anthropological Association meetings.  Today was spent primarily in tours of the Burke Museum’s zoological collections (in the morning) and the marine mammal collections at NMML (in the afternoon).  The Burke has pretty impressive collections, especially when you add in the off-site material, and NMML has a good range as well.  After the tours, Jeff Bradley of the Burke took me to their off-site storage to look at whale mandibles.

I’ve been trying to track down whale mandibles ever since I was sent a picture of one from Cape Krusenstern and I saw one at Cape Espenberg that didn’t look like bowheads.  I didn’t think they were grey whales either, but I’m not as familiar with their skeletons.  There are bowhead skulls in front of every school in Barrow (& my daughter attended all three), the college, the library/heritage center, the city hall and the North Slope Borough building, as well as miscellaneous other sites around town, so I know bowhead jaws when I see them.

I found a couple that looked like possible matches, or at least members of the same family, so that is progress.  The Burke has pretty restrictive photo policies (they hold a lot of art, so the policies are based on that), which means I can’t put any photos up here without permission.  It would take days  & several person-hours of work at both ends, so I’m not going to try for a blog post.

Now off to bed so I can be bright-eyed & bushy-tailed (or at least halfway coherent) for our session tomorrow.  I don’t have to give any papers until afternoon, but still…  The other organizers have papers in the morning, so I’m guessing I’ll be moderating….  We’re only winging it a little 🙂

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