Dutch medieval orca bones discovered

This is a killer whale video.

Translated from Ecomare museum in the Netherlands:

First killer whale in the Netherlands – 01/21/1911

Killer whales are very rare in the Dutch waters. Orca Morgan, who last year was found in the Wadden Sea while being sick and weak, was the latest and the 29th killer whale ever. But now another one has been found! This time, not a living one, but the remains of a stranded killer whale from the Middle Ages. It’s not just the latest find, but also the very first!

Remains in the moat

The remains of the killer whale were found during excavations at the site of the medieval Brederode Castle, near the North Sea coast. In the moat four hundred animal remains were found, including 15 species of mammals, 19 species of birds and five species of fish. Among the animal remains were also two vertebrae of a whale. By comparing those with known vertebrae from the Natural History Museum in Rotterdam, the scientists discovered that the remains were of an adult female killer whale.

Special feast?

The remains of the orca have ended up in the moat at some time between the 14th century and 1573. Probably the Lord of Brederode had orderded his servants to bring a stranded orca from the beach to his castle. Even in those days, a killer whale was a rarity and therefore a real trophy. It is even possible that the noble family ate the whale. In the Middle Ages, the flesh of marine mammals was considered to be a delicacy and a killer whale was of course a very special treat.


In our encyclopedia you can read more about orcas and strandings in the Netherlands. More about this find is in the latest issue of Lutra, the journal of the Dutch Mammal Society.

See also here.

Shark-eating orcas wear down their teeth: here.

February 2011. IWDG have received a report from the Irish Naval Service of an unprecedented feeding aggregation of Killer whales Orcinus orca in offshore waters off northwest Ireland, some 30 miles off Tory Island. Lt. Cdr. Paddy Harkin, Captain of the L.E. Niamh reports: here.

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