stevetilbury's picture

Whale Baleen

Observed: 22nd August 2011 By: stevetilbury
Whale Baleen 1
Whale Baleen 1 1

Whale baleen found on the rocks at lynmouth devon.
Is it possible to identify the specices? sorry for the blueness of the photographs, they're scanned polaroids, I don't do digital!

    Likely ID
    rorqual whale sp.
    Confidence: It's likely to be this, but I can't be certain.
Species interactions

No interactions present.


bobthebirder's picture


2 major groups of whales have baleen, the right whales (such as the humpback whale) and the rorquals (such as the blue whale).The Sea World web site ( states that the baleen is largest in the bowhead whale, at 4 m long, and smallest in the minke whale, at 12 to 20 cm long.

The plate in the photo looks to be about 1 metre long, so this would make it too big for our commonest baleen whale, the minke. So this could be from a young right whale, perhaps a humpback, or one of the larger rorquals, perhaps a fin whale.

Bob Ford

Gill Sinclair's picture

Rorqual whale

Just a correction - humpbacks are also rorquals, not one of the right whales. I would agree that this is most likely from one of the larger rorquals - blue, sei, or humpback, possibly juvenile. If a fin whale, you would be able to see the asymmetry in the colour of its lower baleen and jaw, which I don't see from this photo.

Gill Sinclair
OU Certificate in Contemporary Science
Twitter @Gill_Sinclair