Nick Pyenson, curator of fossil marine mammals at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, is quick to tell us he’s not a ‘whale hugger’. ‘I didn’t fall asleep snuggling stuffed whales or decorate my room with posters of humpbacks suspended in prismatic light.’ Pyenson sees whales through their ancestral bones, and their contemporary entrails, digging up their past or scrying their future.
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