Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-8bljj Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-06-17T08:45:35.807Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

MARINE RESERVOIR EFFECT OF SPERMACETI, A WAX OBTAINED FROM THE HEAD OF THE SPERM WHALE: A FIRST ESTIMATION FROM MUSEUM SPECIMENS

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 November 2022

Lucile Beck*
Affiliation:
Laboratoire de Mesure du Carbone 14 (LMC14), LSCE/IPSL, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Université Paris-Saclay, F-91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
Ingrid Caffy
Affiliation:
Laboratoire de Mesure du Carbone 14 (LMC14), LSCE/IPSL, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Université Paris-Saclay, F-91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
Emmanuelle Delqué-Količ
Affiliation:
Laboratoire de Mesure du Carbone 14 (LMC14), LSCE/IPSL, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Université Paris-Saclay, F-91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
Jean-Pascal Dumoulin
Affiliation:
Laboratoire de Mesure du Carbone 14 (LMC14), LSCE/IPSL, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Université Paris-Saclay, F-91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
Stéphane Hain
Affiliation:
Laboratoire de Mesure du Carbone 14 (LMC14), LSCE/IPSL, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Université Paris-Saclay, F-91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
Christophe Moreau
Affiliation:
Laboratoire de Mesure du Carbone 14 (LMC14), LSCE/IPSL, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Université Paris-Saclay, F-91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
Marion Perron
Affiliation:
Laboratoire de Mesure du Carbone 14 (LMC14), LSCE/IPSL, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Université Paris-Saclay, F-91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
Marc Sieudat
Affiliation:
Laboratoire de Mesure du Carbone 14 (LMC14), LSCE/IPSL, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Université Paris-Saclay, F-91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
Bruno Thellier
Affiliation:
Laboratoire de Mesure du Carbone 14 (LMC14), LSCE/IPSL, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Université Paris-Saclay, F-91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
Charlotte Van Hove
Affiliation:
Laboratoire de Mesure du Carbone 14 (LMC14), LSCE/IPSL, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Université Paris-Saclay, F-91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
*
*Corresponding author. Email: lucile.beck@CEA.fr

Abstract

Spermaceti is a waxy substance found in the head cavities of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus and P. catodon). This substance had a variety of commercial applications from the end of the 18th to the beginning of the 20th century, such as candles, soap, cosmetics and other compounds. Spermaceti was also occasionally used as wax for modeling sculptures. In order to date such artworks the marine reservoir effect (MRE) has to be considered. The chemical library of the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle (Paris, France) contains samples of spermaceti studied by the French chemist M. E. Chevreul (1786–1889) at the beginning of the 19th century. Eight samples of substances preserved in their original containers were 14C dated. According to the whaling practices and the publications of Chevreul, we estimated that the spermaceti samples came from whales caught between 1805 and 1815. AMS 14C dating results are from 550 to 1180 ± 30 BP, R values between 393 and 1023 (± 34) 14C yr and ΔR between –168 and 504 (± 60) 14C yr. The values presented here are the first ever obtained for spermaceti. However, being based on museum specimens, further measurements on crude material would be necessary to refine these results.

Type
Conference Paper
Copyright
© The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press for the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Footnotes

Selected Papers from the 3rd Radiocarbon in the Environment Conference, Gliwice, Poland, 5–9 July 2021.

References

REFERENCES

Alves, E, Macario, K, Ascough, P, Bronk Ramsey, C. 2018. The worldwide marine radiocarbon reservoir effect: definitions, mechanisms, and prospects. Reviews of Geophysics 56:128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Birkenmajer, K, Olsson, U. 1998. Radiocarbon dating of whale bones from the 17th century Whaling sites at Gashamna, Hornsund, South Spitsbergen. Bull. Polish Acad. Sci. Earth Sci. 46:109132.Google Scholar
Chevreul, ME. 1815. Des corps qu’on a appelés adipocire, c’est-à-dire, de la substance cristallisée des calculs biliaires humains, du spermaceti et de la substance grasse des cadavres. Ann. Chim. 95:550.Google Scholar
Chevreul, ME. 1817. De la cétine (spermaceti). Ann. Chim. Phys. 7:155181.Google Scholar
Chevreul, ME. 1823 . Recherches chimiques sur les corps gras d’origine animale. Paris, FG Levrault, 1823.Google Scholar
Clark, MR. 1970. Function of the spermaceti organ of the sperm whale. Nature 228(5274):873874. doi: 10.1038/228873a0.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Clark, MR, Martins, HR, Pascoe, P. 1993. The diet of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus Linnaeus 1758) off the Azores. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B 339:6782. doi: 10.1098/rstb.1993.0005 Google Scholar
Cottereau, E, Arnold, M, Moreau, C, Baqué, D, Bavay, D, Caffy, I, et al. 2007. ARTEMIS, the new 14C AMS at LMC14 in Saclay, France. Radiocarbon 49(2):291299. doi: 10.1017/S0033822200042211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dumoulin, JP, Comby-Zerbino, C, Delqué-Kolic, E, Moreau, C, Caffy, I, Hain, S, Perron, M, Thellier, B, Setti, V, Berthier, B, Beck, L. 2017. Status report on sample preparation protocols developed at the LMC14 Laboratory, Saclay, France: from sample collection to 14C AMS measurement. Radiocarbon 59:713726.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dyke, AS, MecNeely, RN, Hopper, J. 1996. Marine reservoir corrections for bowhead whale radiocarbon age determination. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 33:16281637.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Forman, SL and Polyak, L. 1997. Radiocarbon content of pre-bomb marine mollusks and variations in the 14C reservoir age for coastal areas of the Barents and Kar. Geophysical Research Letters 24:885888.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Furze, MFA, Pienkowski, AJ, Coulthard, RD. 2014. New cetacean DR values for Arctic North America and their implications for marine-mammal-based palaeoenvironmental reconstructions. Quaternary Science Reviews 91:218241. doi: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2013.08.021.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Heaton, TJ, Köhler, P, Butzin, M, Bard, E, Reimer, RW, Austin, WEN, Bronk Ramsey, C, Grootes, PM, Hughen, KA, Kromer, B, et al. 2020. Marine20—the marine radiocarbon age calibration curve (0–55,000 cal BP). Radiocarbon 62:779820.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Irwin, E. 2012. The spermaceti candle and the American whaling industry. Historia 21:4553.Google Scholar
Kawakami, T. 1980. A review of sperm whale food. Scientific Reports of the Whales Research Institute 32:199213.Google Scholar
Koopman, HN. 2018. Function and evolution of specialized endogenous lipids in toothed whales. Journal of Experimental Biology 221:jeb161471. doi: 10.1242/jeb.161471.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Lengellé, M. 1955. Le marché mondial de l’huile de baleine. In: Études et conjonctureInstitut national de la statistique et des études économiques 10 :898927. doi: 10.3406/estat.1955.9016.Google Scholar
Macario, KD, Souza, RCCL, Aguilera, OA, Carvalho, C, Oliveira, FM, Alves, EQ, Chanca, IS, et al. 2015. Marine reservoir effect on the southeastern coast of Brazil: results from the Tarioba shellmound paired samples. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity 143:1419.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Mangerud, J, Bondevik, S, Gulliksen, S, Hufthammer, AK, Høisæter, T. 2006. Marine 14C reservoir ages for 19th century whales and molluscs from the North Atlantic. Quaternary Science Review 25:32283245. doi: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2006.03.010.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mook, WG, van der Plicht, J. 1999. Reporting 14C activities and concentrations. Radiocarbon 41:227239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Moreau, C, Messager, C, Berthier, B, Hain, S, Thellier, B, Dumoulin, J-P, Caffy, I, Sieudat, M, Delqué-Količ, E, Mussard, S, et al. 2020. ARTEMIS, the 14C AMS facility of the LMC14 National Laboratory: a status report on quality control and microsample procedures. Radiocarbon 62(6):17551770. doi: 10.1017/RDC.2020.73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Morris, JR. 1973. The lipid structure of the spermaceti organ of the sperm whale (Physeter catodon). Deep Sea Research and Oceanographic Abstracts 20:911916.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nakamura, G, Zenitani, R, Kato, H. 2013. Relative skull growth of the sperm whale, Physeter macrocephalus, with a note of sexual dimorphism. Mammal Study 38(3):177186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Olsson, I. 1980. Content of 14C in marine mammals from northern Europe. Radiocarbon 22: 662673.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Regert, M, Langlois, J, Colinart, S. 2005. Characterisation of wax works of art by gas chromatographic procedures. Journal of Chromatography A 1091:124136.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Reiche, I, Beck, L, Caffy, I. 2021. New results with regard to the Flora bust controversy: radiocarbon dating suggests nineteenth century origin. Scientific Reports 11:8249. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-85505-x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Reimer, PJ, Reimer, RW, 2001. A marine reservoir correction database and on-line interface. Radiocarbon 43(2A):461463.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Scott, EM. 2003. The Third International Radiocarbon Intercomparison (TIRI) and the Fourth International Radiocarbon Intercomparison (FIRI), 1990–2002: results, analyses, and conclusions. Radiocarbon 45(2):135408.Google Scholar
Spalding, K, Bernard, S, Näslund, E. et al. 2017. Impact of fat mass and distribution on lipid turnover in human adipose tissue. Nature Communications 8:15253. doi: 10.1038/ncomms15253.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Starbuck, A. 1878. History of the American whale fishery, from its earliest inception to the year 1876. Published by the author, Waltham, MA. USA.Google Scholar
Strawford, A, Antelo, F, Christiansen, M, Hellerstein, MK. 2004. Adipose tissue triglyceride turnover de novo and cell proliferation in humans measured with 2H2O. American Journal of Physiology 286:E577588.Google ScholarPubMed
Tower, WS. 1907. A 1907 history of the American whale fishery. Publications of the University of Pennsylvania, series in Political Economy and Public Law No. 20. Philadelphia.Google Scholar
Vogel, JS, Southon, JR, Nelson, DE, Brown, TA, 1984. Performance of catalytically condensed carbon for use in accelerator mass spectrometry. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms 5(2):289293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wellendorf, M. 1963. Composition of spermaceti. Nature 198:10861087.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Zallen, J. 2019. The dark history of artificial light. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press. p. 16.Google Scholar
Supplementary material: PDF

Beck et al. supplementary material

Beck et al. supplementary material

Download Beck et al. supplementary material(PDF)
PDF 124 KB