Once in a while, nature and technology conspire to bring us something rare and incredible. This is one of those times.
Marine biologists have long thought that blue whales indiscriminately scour the oceans as they feed on krill. A new study shows there’s a lot more to the grazing habits of these massive mammals than just blindly swimming through the water.
In 1998, researchers photographed and collected DNA from a female pygmy blue whale off the coast of the Galapagos Islands. Eight years later, another team did the same with a similar-looking whale in the waters off Chile. Turns out, it was the same whale.
Humpback whales are renowned for their ability to produce songs of remarkable beauty, complexity, and duration. But despite decades of research, scientists still aren't sure why these whales engage in such elaborate acoustic displays. Here's what we know — and have yet to learn — about the humpback whale's song.
Dinosaurs! No. Blue whales! No? Pandas? Ha. It really depends on what you consider a thing and what's not a thing. And what's actually living and what's not traditionally considered living but is. And what's on Earth and what's inside Earth. Because if we're counting any sort of organisms, it could very well be…
The average blue whale is approximately the length of three school buses. Heck, even a newborn calf is 23 feet long at birth. And do you see that horrific orange streak trailing behind those whales above? Yup, that's a big load of whale feces, an oceanic skidmark maybe the length of a few Volvos.
There's an absolutely amazing essay by Carl Zimmer that just went up on his Discover blog The Loom, about how blue whales are a seemingly impossible creature. Though they are tremendously huge and can live to be over 200 years old, they rarely develop cancer. Zimmer writes:
The songs blue whales use to communicate and attract mates have been dropping in pitch worldwide for decades, and researchers think it might actually be a sign that an endangered population is recovering.