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A Chronicle of a Whale’s Life, Captured in Earwax (NPR)
Tree rings can tell a story about the environmental conditions a tree faced over its lifetime. Similarly, plugs of blue whale earwax can provide information on the mammal’s heath, chronicling pesticide exposure, stress levels, sexual maturity, and more. Sascha Usenko and Stephen Trumble of Baylor University explain how.
A diagram shows an earplug in a blue whale skull. The bacon-like image (D) is the earplug. Images courtesy Michelle Berman-Kowalewskic, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural HistoryB