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Cuvier’s Beaked Whale Skull Replica measures 37.4 inches. Cuvier’s Beaked Whale Skull Replica is museum quality polyurethane resin. Original cast from California Academy of Sciences. Made in USA. 2-part skull (separate cranium and jaw). Our precise skull can be used as a teaching tool, museum skull exhibit, home decor skull, or office decor skull.
The Cuvier’s beaked whale, goose-beaked whale, or ziphius (Ziphius cavirostris) is the most widely distributed of all beaked whales in the family Ziphiidae.
It is smaller than most baleen whales yet large among beaked whales. Cuvier’s beaked whale is pelagic, inhabiting waters deeper than 1,000 ft. It has the deepest and longest recorded dives among whales at 9,816 ft. and 222 minutes, though the frequency and reasons for these extraordinary dives are unclear. Despite its deep-water habitat, it is one of the most frequently spotted beaked whales.
The body of Cuvier’s beaked whale is robust and cigar-shaped, similar to those of other beaked whales, and can be difficult to distinguish from many of the mesoplodont whales at sea.
Males and females tend to be similar in size. The body of adult males is typically a dark gray, with their head being distinctly lighter, or even white. This light coloration extends along the posterior. Females vary in color from dark gray to a reddish-brown. The skin lightens on female’s head to a lesser extent than in males, and does not extend along the posterior.
Their head is short and blunt, with a gradually sloping forehead, a small, poorly defined beak, and a slight melon. All the beaked whales have this general appearance, but Cuvier’s beaked whale has a blunt shorter beak that distinguishes the Cuvier’s beaked whale from others in the family Ziphiidae. In profile, their small, softly defined rostrum gives them the nickname or alternative name of goose-beaked whale.
Cuvier’s beaked whale prefers diving deep and using a suction process to acquire fish. Diving deep to catch prey, Cuvier’s beaked whales open their jaws, expand their throat and move their tongue in a way that creates a pressure change and sucks their prey, like squid and deep sea fish, directly into their mouths. Grooves between their throat tissues enable the whale to expand this region. Its jaw structure gives it a smiling appearance.
The “melon” of the whale, the bump on top of its head, contains its organ for echolocation. This means the whale can use sound waves to locate potential sources of food. This deep diving with echolocation seems to help Cuvier’s beaked whales avoid competition for their prey.
Scientists have used beached specimens to study the whale’s eating habits via stomach analysis. Examining Pacific Ocean whales, they found that cephalopods made up 98.0% (by number) and 87.7% (by mass) of the Cuvier’s beaked whale diet.
Among these were at least 37 varieties of squid, of many different sizes, with both mesopelagic and bathypelagic squid. Prey of Cuvier’s beaked whales include Cranchiidae, Onychoteuthidae, Brachioteuthidae, Enoploteuthidae, Octopoteuthidae, and Histioteuthidae, as well as deep-sea fish.