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100-Feet-Long-Blue-Whale-Kite by the New Zealand engineer and inventor Peter Lynn

Watch now: In her talk, “Why Whales are Weird,” energetic, articulate anatomist and PopTech Iceland speaker Joy Reidenberg presents an amazing array of fact about the beloved mammal (Whales evolved from deer-like creatures! Their spinal movement is more like galloping in the water! They don’t actually spout water! They have mustaches!). She takes us through the story of evolution using whales as a model, explaining that evolution is the process to mediate resilience and thus, survival.

How baleen whales lost a gene and their teeth

“The family tree of whales, including extinct relatives. Baleen whales (top) and some pygmy sperm whales (bottom) have mutations in their tooth genes. Every orange symbol denotes a mutation; different letters represent different genes.”

(via scientificillustration)

Song Of the Spindle (by Drew Christie)

Speaking of citizen science, Gale McCullough (PopTech 2010), a former nursery school teacher and old-fashioned naturalist, discovered a whale that had journeyed an unprecedented 6,000 miles from Brazil to Madagascar. The technology she used? Flickr. Through the photo sharing website where people post their “I-went-on-a-whale-watch-trip” photos, she found matching photos of the whales.