Marine Mammals of Singapore

Marine Mammals of Singapore is an article found in the book “Essays in Zoology” — a commemorative volume which marks the fourtieth anniversary of the Department of Zoology in NUS.

The article is a compilation of information on marine mammals found in Singapore or that might have been spotted in Singapore during the 19th and 20th century. It lists the marine mammals by their scientific and common names and provides information such as the sightings recorded, the physical characteristics, and the behaviours of these creatures. The marine mammals covered include the dugong, whale-bone whale, ocean dolphin, bottle-nosed dolphin, Malayan dolphin, common dolphin, Irrawaddy dolphin and finless porpoise.

Here are some interesting points about them and we invite you to guess which marine mammal is being referred to in each point before referring to the answers below.

  1. “Occasionally brought into Singapore Fish Market where the flesh finds a ready sale and the tusks are eagerly sought” (Chasen, 1925, as cited in Sigurdsson & Yang, 1990, p. 26).
  2. “This is classic dolphin of Greek mythology, the dolphin of Aristotle and Pliny” (Sigurdsson & Yang, 1990, p. 32).
  3. “…difficult to identify and could easily be confused with the finless porpoise and also the dugong both of which had blunt heads and can occur in similar areas”
    (Sigurdsson & Yang, 1990, p. 32).
  4. “…it is in fact bluish grey, turning black only after death” (Pilleri et al., 1976, as cited in Sigurdsson & Yang, 1990, p. 33).

Answers
1. Dugong     2. Common Dolphin     3. Irrawaddy Dolphin     4. Finless Porpoise

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