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Scrag Whale is a mystery cetacean of the North Atlantic Ocean. Similar to a Fin whale (Balaeonoptera physalus) but with knobs on its back instead of a dorsal fin.

Scientific nameEdit

Balaena gibbosa, given by Johann Polycarp Erxleben in 1777.

Significant sightingEdit

According to legend, the first whale the white settlers of Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, encountered was a Scrag whale that lingered in the harbor for three days in the 1670s. The settlers knew they had to try to capture it, but to accomplish this, a blacksmith had to fashion the island’s first harpoon.

Possible explanationsEdit

  • At one time, it was thought to be a juvenile Northern right whale (Eubalaena glacialis). 
  • Now universally considered to have been a North Atlantic population of the Gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus), hunted to extinction by the eighteenth century. A subfossil jaw discovered in 1977 at Southampton, New York, was identified in 1984 as a gray whale radiocarbon-dated to approximately 1710. This species is currently found only in the Pacific.

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