The Romans developed a whaling industry and culling of cetaceans in the Mediterranean Sea?
Excavations in the Strait of Gibraltar have uncovered bones of two species of whales dating back to nearly two thousand years ago. years. The age and location of the find suggest that the origins of the whaling industry date back to the Roman Empire.
The bones found, dated to the beginning of our era, belong to the gray cetacean (Eschrichtius robustus) and the Biscayan walrus (Eubalaena glacialis). The Strait of Gibraltar during the Roman Empire was a center for processingofish farms. Products, such as salted fish, were exported to remote parts of the Empire. Ruins of factories with large brine tanks can still be seen in the region. It is in the ruins of one such buildingow cetacean remains have been found.
Hundreds of years of whaling have brought both of these species to the brink of extinction. Today, small populations live in the waters of the poThe results of the study were published in the pages of the North Pacific Ocean and poNorth Altalntic, but researchers believe they were once also found in the Mediterranean Seaodaily.
The whales may have come to the Mediterranean Seaodziem to give birth to offspring, although this is very far from what was thought to be their historical range. However, this seems to be confirmed by sourcesohistorical background. Pliny the Elder – Roman historian and writer – In one of his works, he mentioned orcas hunting young whales in the Strait of Gibraltar.
– This is the first identification of these twooch speciesoin this basin,” said Dr. Camilla Speller of the University of York, whoora along with a team of British and French scientistsow, analyzed ancient whale bonesow. The results of the study were published in „Proceedings of the Royal Society B”.
Until now, it was thought that it was the Basques in the 11th century who began hunting whales on a massive scale. However, researchers suggest that the hitherto unknown whaling industry of the Romans mohead may have been earlier, and it was the Romans who may have led the cull of these animals in the Mediterranean basinodeer.
– I think that’s the key question – whether the Romans started doing it earlier, or whether the Basques were the first industrial whalers, Speller pointed out.
– It seems unbelievable that we could lose and then forget about the dwoch large whale speciesoIn a region as well studied as the Mediterranean Seaonatural – stated Ana Rodrigues of the French National Center for Scientific Research. – This makes one wonder what else we have forgotten – she added.
Whaling has been going on for thousands of years. Researchers found evidence of this in ro¿ ancient cultures around the world. However, the most intense developmentoj whaling industry dates to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These huge animals were killed primarily for spermaceti (made into candles, creams or ointments), ambergris (used in perfume production), whalebone and, of course, meat.
„One modern ship can take more whalesoin a season than the entire American whaling fleet of 1846, whichora numbered more than 700 shipsow” – This is a quote from one of the members of theoin the U.S. Coast Guard posted in the Fisheries Review in 1938. It perfectly demonstrates the scale of this practice.
In 1947, the Convention on the Regulation of Whaling came into force. However, for years the International Whaling Commission did not have the tools to enforce the Convention’s findings. Despite the decimation of the whale populationow, it is still allowed to kill these animals in countries such as Norway and Japan. Whale meat tradeow has been banned internationally; nonetheless, a black market exists.
SourceoSource: BBC, The Independent, fot. Moira Brown/New England Aquarium/ Wikimedia Commons