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Whales And North Atlantic Ecology

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Chapter Summary

This chapter talks about the whales and their uses, the waters they occupied and history of North Atlantic expansion. A reliance on maritime resources in the North Atlantic is confirmed in archaeological evidence from across the Northern world especially from Greenland. The northern oceans were home to over two-dozen species of whales, ranging from the diminutive Harbor porpoise to the massive Blue whale. North Atlantic ecology ensured that Norse travelers and North Atlantic settlers came into constant contact with marine mammals both at sea and on shore from the earliest days of colonization. Climate change must be considered for its impact on the ancient seas and the animal and human populations. The Warm Period corresponds with onset of Viking Age and the emigration of tens of thousands of Norsemen and other Scandinavians to Iceland and beyond. Traditional North Atlantic strategies for whaling ranged from passive scavenging to driving to spearing.

Keywords: Greenland; Iceland; North Atlantic Ecology; Viking Age; Warm Period; whales

10.1163/ej.9789004163980.i-326.11
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