By Louisa Ponnampalam, PhD
Translated by Toh Yi Jin (杜怡槿)

2021年3月,一如往常的一个普通夜晚,MareCet团队趁着在柔佛州丰盛港(Mersing)进行考察的同时,与当地的一些同事碰面共进晚餐。正当我们边享受着汤和沙爹边聊天时,我们的朋友Nazirul随口提到,几天前,他在柔佛州的大洋岛(Pulau Dayang)上工作时,看见了一堆鲸鱼骨骸。我即刻询问他是否有拍下那些骨骸的照片,而他也随即回答道,“当然”,并向我展示了他所拍摄的照片。Nazirul说,一名居住于邻近的奥尔岛(Pulau Aur)上的当地村民,约莫在2017年(该村民已不记得确切的日期或年份)在该岛西边的Teluk Jong发现了这副被冲上岸的鲸鱼残骸。后来,这副骨骸被转移到大洋岛,并遗留至今。

这真的仅仅是大洋岛上的一堆骨头吗?照片来源:Nazirul Amin

骨骸中蕴藏的秘密线索

骨骸有时候也能透露出惊人的讯息。在世界各地,科学家们仅通过检验骨骼就发现了新物种或是物种的行踪。当然,骨骼和骨骸的检验需要一定的专业知识或培训;不过,这里要说明的是,一堆看似不起眼的骨骸往往不像视线表面所看到的那么简单。

看着一张鲸鱼头颅骨的照片,我的眼睛自动转向它的右侧,落在了它的脑壳垂直的部分上 — — 科学术语称之为顶骨(parietal)的地方,并注意到了一个“孔”(科学术语称作foramina parieto-squamosa,意思为鳞状顶骨上的孔)。啊哈!我立即断定这是一头大村鲸,Omura’s whale(Balaenoptera omurai)。拥有这“鳞状顶骨孔”是大村鲸最为明显的颅骨形态特征之一,也是区分其与布氏鲸,Bryde’s whale(Balaenoptera edeni)的颅骨的关键点(布氏鲸与大村鲸有着地域分布上的重叠)。尽管如此,我对自己的判断仍非百分之百的肯定。我心想:“如果那顶骨上看到的孔仅仅是由于颅骨退化所照成的裂缝呢?”Nazirul的其他照片里也没有顶骨的左侧以让我确认左侧是否同样也有着这个“孔”。


By Dhivya Nair & Louisa Ponnampalam, PhD
Translated by Toh Yi Jin (杜怡槿)

Fanbelt — 一只海豚名字的由来

2017年八月二日那一天,MareCet团队一如往常在浮罗交怡群岛(the Langkawi archipelago)海域周围进行考察。Sandra和Jol Ern同船长及两名志愿者出发寻找最爱的鲸豚身影。在平日的考察中,一旦寻获鲸豚群,MareCet团队便迅速着手进行研究工作,收集它们的相关数据,并记录它们所处地点的详细信息。Sandra(印太洋驼海豚社会生态的博士研究生)迅速拿起相机并开始对海豚群进行拍摄,主要目的是为了准确的拍摄它们的背鳍以进行海豚识别

团队跟随着26只印太洋驼海豚半个小时,相机快门的声音也从没间断。通过镜头勘察,Sandra突然发现有一只海豚在距离海豚群不远处游行。而当她将注意力转向这只孤身的海豚,发现了令人心碎的一幕。

这只海豚身上有着看似新鲜的伤口,一个看起来像是船用发动机的风扇皮带(fan belt)的物件紧紧地缠绕着它的身体,嵌入了它的背鳍和皮肤。Sandra快速地将这令人沮丧的一幕告知了团队的其他成员。团队试图接近这只受伤的海豚以帮助它,但却无济于事。这只海豚对前来的船只很是警惕,并不停地游开。


by Dhivya Nair, Saliza Bono & Louisa Ponnampalam, Ph.D.

Note: This article is best read with your volume up and earphones on! Read on, you’ll see why.

Bright and early on yet another survey day, the MareCet team head down to the jetty, load up the boat with equipment and they are all set to go. The observers take their positions at the bow of the boat as the boat skipper starts the engine and the volunteers look ahead, eager at the prospect of seeing more cetaceans today. …


By Louisa Ponnampalam, Ph.D.

It was a regular night, like any other night for the MareCet team in March 2021. Our team was in the field in Mersing, Johor, and had met up with some colleagues based in the area for dinner. As we chatted over soup and satay, our friend Nazirul casually mentioned seeing a pile of whale bones on Pulau Dayang, Johor a few days prior while he was there for work. My immediate instinct was to ask him if he had taken any photographs. To my relief, he replied “of course”, and proceeded to show me the…


By Dhivya Nair & Louisa Ponnampalam, PhD

Fanbelt — how one dolphin’s name came to be
The day was 2nd August 2017; a survey day around the waters of the Langkawi archipelago that started like any other for the MareCet team. With two additional volunteers onboard, Sandra, Jol Ern, and their skipper headed out on the boat in search of their favourite cetaceans. On a normal survey day, once a pod is found, the team quickly sets to work, collecting data on the animals, and recording details on the area they are in. Sandra (a Ph.D. student studying the social ecology…

Flukes for Thought by MareCet

MareCet is an NGO dedicated to the research and conservation of marine mammals and their habitats in Malaysia.

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