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Marine Scientist to Tell the Story of Sperm Whales
Sunday, February 5, 2023


“Moby Dick” has found a place on the shelf at The Community Library since the library’s founding. Now,  the story of a young male sperm whale nicknamed Physty is finding its way to the library.

Marine scientist Gaelin Rosenwaks will discuss “Sperm Whales: The Gentle Goliaths of the Ocean” at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7, at Ketchum’s Community Library.

The presentation, being held in partnership with Dent the Future, will be in-person only with a book signing with Chapter One bookstore to follow. To reserve your spot, go to

Sperm whales, which can be found worldwide, can grow up to 52 feet in length and can dive to 7,382 feet, their diving capabilities exceeded only by the southern elephant seal and Cuvier’s beaked whale. Their brain is the largest on Earth—five times heavier than a human’s. And they can live 70 years or more.

Rosenwaks will offer a glimpse of the close bond between mother and child in the waters off Dominca through photographs she’s taken of them sleeping, playing and nursing.

It was Physty, who fell ill in the early 1980s and came ashore just off Long Island, N.Y., that captured Rosenwaks’ heart, launching her personal quest to study, protect and document the world’s largest toothed predator.

Sperm whales were hunted to the brink of extinction as the whaling industry sought them for oil for lamps, lubricants and candles. But they are now protected and their numbers are thought to be in the hundreds of thousands.

Rosenwaks has found that the animals live in matriarchal family units with females that stay together for generations taking care of one another like elephants and humans.

Rosenwaks began her career at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution conducting research in Antarctica. She earned her Master’s Degree in Coastal Environmental Management from Duke University researching giant bluefin tunas.

She founded Global Ocean Exploration Inc. to educate people about the challenges facing the oceans and what science is doing to address these challenges. She has appeared as an expert on The Discovery Channel, Science Channel, CBS News and National Geographic Channel. And she is one of the few women to be featured on the cover of Outside Magazine.


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