Ah, “Cetology,” one of those chapters that is the bane of the casual reader of Moby-Dick. But for the cognoscenti …

One of our readers over at Patell and Waterman’s History of New York asked in a comment on Day 19, “When were whales first classified as mammals? Did Melville know that they were mammals?” So I’ve gone on at length about that and other related and unrelated questions over there. Have a look if you dare.

The chapter is read for us by Martin Atrill, who (appropriately enough) is Director of the Marine Institute at Plymouth University. The illustration, Whale (2011) by Chris Jordan, “depicts 50,000 plastic bags, equal to the estimated number of pieces of floating plastic in every square mile in the world’s oceans and is based on a photograph by Bryant Austin.”

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