Whale May Be Headed for Record Books A 50-ton bowhead whale killed off the coast of Alaska was carrying a projectile that experts say must have been fired from a shoulder gun in the late 1800s. That means the whale lived at least 130 years.
NPR logo

Whale May Be Headed for Record Books

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/11131869/11131870" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Whale May Be Headed for Record Books

Whale May Be Headed for Record Books

Whale May Be Headed for Record Books

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/11131869/11131870" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

A 50-ton bowhead whale that was recently killed off the coast of Alaska was found to have a 3.5-inch projectile embedded deep in its blubber. It had probably been fired from a shoulder gun in the late 1800s, meaning the whale was between 115 and 130 years old.

John Bockstoce of the New Bedford Whaling Museum in New Bedford, Mass., told The Associated Press that the explosive lance "probably hurt the whale, or annoyed him, but it hit him in a non-lethal place."