In Alaska’s North Slope lives a population of bowhead whales with a remarkable life span. Some whales in the water are over 200 years old, and were alive even before Moby Dick, the famous novel about the white whale, was written. This population is the made up of the few survivors that made it through the commercial whaling spree from 1848 to 1915, which killed all the whales except 1,000 or so animals. These whales, some with barbed steel points still imbedded in their 17-19 inch blubber, rebuilt the population.
The bowhead whale gets its name from its definitive bow-shaped skull that measures over 16.5 feet long and is about 30-40% of their total body length. The bow shape helps the animal break through thick ice in the winter time when it needs air.
(via The Smithsonian)