UK cetacean strandings 1913-1989

Variables in the dataset are described below.

Note that for clarity columns containing no data have been removed, though all columns containing any information have been retained. These extra columns were added in 1990 when CSIP began maintaining the records and mainly include detailed measurements of body parts. We do not have these data for the historical records. Column headers have been retained as they were in the original dataset. New columns are those referring to latitude and longitude, dates in YYYYMMDD format, and the Scientific Name column has been updated.

  • Spec_No = number assigned to the stranding. Can sometimes help with tracing archive information.
  • S_W_No = Stranded Whale number given to strandings to identify individuals. Year followed by the number of the stranding, e.g. the first individual stranded in 1913 is numbered 1913/1.
  • Date = date of stranding report, this may not always be the actual stranding date.
  • Common Name = common name of the species.
  • Scientific Name = scientific name of the species, corrected using the taxonomy of Reid et al. 2003.
  • County = UK county stranding was found within.
  • Latitude = Latitude (decimal degrees) stranding was found at. Converted from grid reference.
  • Longitude = Longitude (decimal degrees) stranding was found at. Converted from grid reference.
  • Location = Description of the location of the stranding.
  • Grid ref = UK Grid reference stranding was found at. Inferred using Location.
  • Mass_Single = was this part of a mass stranding (M) or a single animal (S).
  • Sex = Male (M) or Female (F).
  • Length Approx = is the length approximate (i.e. in the original data these values are preceded by ca., c. or ?).
  • Length Imp = length of the individual in feet and inches, precisely as recorded.
  • Length Met = length of the individual in metres. Note this is just converted from the values in feet and inches so there is false precision in these data.
  • Condition = what condition was the individual in when the stranding was recorded: alive (alive) or dead (fresh, dead, good, average, decayed, decomposed). There does not appear to be any consistency in how this variable was recorded, so we are unsure how fresh, good and dead differ, for example.
  • in Collections = what parts of the individual (if any) are in the NHM collections.
  • year = year of the stranding for S_W number.
  • sequ = number of the stranding in sequence that year S_W number.
  • lett = letter added to S_W number
  • Entered = Date the data was entered into the electronic database.
  • Updated = Date the grid references and lengths in metres were updated.
  • age = adult or juvenile
  • Old County = original county entered if different from current counties.
  • GRef Source = source used to extract grid references.
  • Rep_source = reported source of the record.
  • Year_val = year of stranding
  • Month_val = month of stranding
  • Day_val = day of stranding
  • Aggregated_Date = date of stranding in YYYYMMDD format.
  • Fam_Genus = Family or genus as recorded on the original stranding records.
  • Comment = any comments.

Unfortunately these data were compiled many years ago by people no longer employed at the NHM, and in some cases no longer living. As such there are fields for which we have no idea what the data means. We have left these columns in the dataset in case their utility is revealed in the future.

  • By Catch = was the individual part of bycatch? The options are c, f, h, and x but we do not know what these mean.
  • Count = ???
  • MCS = This is likely some kind of code related to the collections. Likely now out of date but retained in case it is useful for archive access.
  • BMNH = This is likely some kind of code related to the collections. Likely now out of date but retained in case it is useful for archive access.
  • Rect_CoNAord_ = ????
  • Other refs = ????
  • JBaker = ???
  • Other = ???
  • Comb_other_ref = ???
  • Country Code = A code for the country but we do not know what the numbers mean.

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Cite this as

Natural History Museum (2018). Dataset: Historical UK cetacean strandings dataset (1913-1989). Resource: UK cetacean strandings 1913-1989. Natural History Museum Data Portal (

Retrieved: 20:52 04 Jul 2020 (GMT)

Additional Information

Last updated unknown
Created unknown
Format CSV
License Creative Commons Attribution
latitude field Latitude
longitude field Longitude
Created over 2 years ago
format CSV
id 9a306dcd-1667-48b5-b682-ce6f071d85ce
package id 8c67d782-c01d-4807-8913-f57d0daabf35
state active