A southern bottlenose whale examined in the Antarctic


  • R. Clarke




This paper mainly concerns the dissection of a lactating female southern bottlenose whale Hyperoodon planifrons especially shot and worked up for the author in the Antarctic 61°09'S, 86°44'E on 10 March 1948. The skeleton is in the British Museum (Natural History). A comparison with what is known of the female northern bottlenose whale H. ampullatus shows no differences in morphometry, body colour, external characters, digestive system and reproductive system, parasites and the vertebral formula and the digital formula of the flipper. There remain acknowledged differences in the skull which may be reduced or perhaps even disappear when further comparisons are attempted between skulls from males and females of similar ages. There is also the confusion when identifying ziphiid whales at sea. These observations have suggested to the author that there may be only one Hyperoodon species with a continuous distribution north and south. But Dalebout et al. (2004), applying DNA sequencies in molecular taxonomy, have now shown that all 21 species of ziphiid whales are valid.