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Life and Times of Whales Told Through Their Earwax

Would it be an incredible feat to tell a person's life story just by looking at their earwax? Well, that's not possible for humans however, it is different for certain species of whales.

The ear is the window to a whale's soul. So much can be known about these whales just by looking at their earwax and in a new study, researchers used this to track whales' stress levels and how their bodies responded to all the changes happening in their marine ecosystem.

Over the course of a whale’s life, the waxy material is deposited in its ear canal, leaving a roughly foot-long structure that can be recovered after the animal’s death. Much like a tree’s rings, the layers in the wax can tell a story about the whale’s life. With a layer being deposited every six months, it’s possible to work out how old the whale is and get some clues about the experiences it faced throughout its history.

Read more about it at Ars Technica

(Image: Nature Communications)


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