A Chronicle of a Whale’s Life, Captured in Earwax

5:31 minutes

Tree rings can tell a story about the environmental conditions a tree faced over its lifetime. Similarly, plugs of blue whale earwax can provide information on the mammal’s heath, chronicling pesticide exposure, stress levels, sexual maturity, and more. Sascha Usenko and Stephen Trumble of Baylor University explain how.

Segment Guests

Sascha Usenko

Sascha Usenko is an assistant professor in environmental science at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

Stephen Trumble

Stephen Trumble is an assistant professor in biology at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

Meet the Producer

About Charles Bergquist

As Science Friday’s director and senior producer, Charles Bergquist channels the chaos of a live production studio into something sounding like a radio program. Favorite topics include planetary sciences, chemistry, materials, and shiny things with blinking lights.