The humpback whale that was.

Three months after I reported on a beached whale on South Africa’s south coast I ventured out to see if I could find any remains of the giant. A fine weather forecast and an early morning low spring tide (the first of 2022) provided the perfect opportunity to scan the coastline for any exposed bones, and thus we (me and some fellow nature enthusiasts) found ourselves heading out along the shoreline after a quick cup of coffee.

The band of merry naturalists set forth! (Don Kurtz is in the foreground)
Luna suggested that this might have been the type of habitat where Tiktaalik ventured on to land (but, alas, she found no traces of our likely common ancestor)
My people in our spiritual home.

After walking for a couple of hours – and after passing many sand dunes and a river – we saw what looked to be a bone sticking out of the sand! So, we headed over to the spot and, sure enough! The first bone we encountered was a vertebra bone, and it was about the size of a medium size dog. We could also see several other bones scattered along the beach, most of them partially buried in the sand. We dug a few of them up and were struck by the size of the jaw bones and the scapula. Take a look at the size of this mandible!

Chiseled jaw line…

Here is a video showing the scattering of what will soon become ashes along the beach:

Here are some of the bones with a dog for scale…


After a while we said our final goodbyes and ventured back along the beach. And so it is that another of life’s wondrous journey’s came to an end…

So long, and thanks for the fish!

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