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Bygone Bylines: Killer Whales Produce a 'Singularly Sinister Effect'

An excerpt from National Geographic provides a glimpse into a now-familiar species.

Feb. 2, 1917: Readers of the West St. Paul Booster and Dakota County Globe receive a dramatized glimpse into the wilds of the ocean.

An excerpt from National Geographic describes in flourishing detail the characteristics of a killer whale (orca) pack, or "giant wolves of the sea."

"A regularly spaced row of advancing long black fins swiftly cutting the undulating surface of the sea produces a singularly sinister effect. The evil impression is well justified, since killers are the most savage and remorseless of whales. The jaws are armed with rows of effective teeth, with which the animals attack and devour seal and porpoises and even destroy some of the larger whales."

While an orca whale's prey may agree with that characterization, modern marine biologists have moved beyond the fearsome facade and transformed the species' image into a more intelligent and glee-inspiring cultural icon—Shamu.

You can check out more historical events, exhibits and archives at the Dakota County Historical Society, 130 Third Avenue N, South St. Paul.

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