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Sperm Whale Fossil Tooth Replica is Museum quality, cast in durable Polyurethane resins. The Sperm Whale Fossil Tooth Replica measures 6 inches and is made in USA. The Sperm Whale Fossil tooth is pictured on the right. The sperm whale’s lower jaw is very narrow and underslung. The sperm whale has 18 to 26 teeth on each side of its lower jaw which fit into sockets in the upper jaw. The teeth are cone-shaped and weigh up to 1 kilogram (2.2 lb) each. The teeth are functional, but do not appear to be necessary for capturing or eating squid, as well-fed animals have been found without teeth or even with deformed jaws. One hypothesis is that the teeth are used in aggression between males. Mature males often show scars which seem to be caused by the teeth. Rudimentary teeth are also present in the upper jaw, but these rarely emerge into the mouth. Analyzing the teeth is the preferred method for determining a whale’s age. Like the age-rings in a tree, the teeth build distinct layers of cementum and dentine as they grow.
The sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) or cachalot is the largest of the toothed whales and the largest toothed predator. It is the only living member of the genus Physeter and one of three extant species in the sperm whale family, along with the pygmy sperm whale and dwarf sperm whale of the genus Kogia.
The sperm whale is a pelagic mammal with a worldwide range, and will migrate seasonally for feeding and breeding. Females and young males live together in groups, while mature males (bulls) live solitary lives outside of the mating season. The females cooperate to protect and nurse their young. Females give birth every four to 20 years, and care for the calves for more than a decade. A mature sperm whale has few natural predators, although calves and weakened adults are sometimes killed by pods of killer whales (orcas).
Mature males average 52 feet in length but some may reach 68 feet, with the head representing up to one-third of the animal’s length. Plunging to 7,382 feet, it is the second deepest diving mammal, exceeded only by Cuvier’s beaked whale. The sperm whale uses echolocation and vocalization as loud as 230 decibels underwater. It has the largest brain on Earth, more than five times heavier than a human’s. Sperm whales can live 70 years or more.
Spermaceti (sperm oil), from which the whale derives its name, was a prime target of the whaling industry, and was sought after for use in oil lamps, lubricants, and candles. Ambergris, a solid waxy waste product sometimes present in its digestive system, is still highly valued as a fixative in perfumes, among other uses. Beachcombers look out for ambergris as flotsam. Sperm whaling was a major industry in the 19th century, depicted in the novel Moby-Dick. The species is protected by the International Whaling Commission moratorium.
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