Toothed whales

The award for the largest brain in the world goes to…

sperm whale brain

The adult human brain weighs about 3 lbs, which is an incredible feat in it itself, as it is only supported by 7 vertebrae. But we really do not even come close to the biggest brain. One might think it belongs to the blue whale, as it is the largest animal on earth. One would …

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The Sowerby’s beaked whale – January 2023

Happy new year! This January, we are happy to feature the Sowerby’s beaked whale, also known as the North Atlantic beaked whale (Mesoplodon bidens). This rare and elusive whale is quite understudied because it spends most of its life deep under the ocean’s surface, hunting for prey. Did you know that males sometimes compete with …

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Scientists can now use the DNA of dolphins to know their age

One of the most fundamental pieces of information about individuals (including dolphins) is their age. In biology studies, scientists need to know how old an animal is to understand many aspects of its life history and, for example, to estimate the viability of a population. But estimating an animal’s age is no easy feat when …

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Sotalias – December 2022

Welcome back to our Whale of the Month series! After taking a short break, we decided to introduce Sotalia dolphins this month. These mysterious dolphins live in both the sea and the rivers of South America. They include two species: the Guiana dolphin or costero, and the tucuxi. These tiny little dolphins face many human …

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You can stop calling North Atlantic killer whales type 1 and type 2

north atlantic killer whales

A new paper by Dr. Andy Foote just came out; it encourages people to stop calling North Atlantic killer whales “type 1” and “type 2”. These two types were defined by Dr. Foote himself during his PhD research. Let’s find out why we should stop talking about two types in the North Atlantic. How the two …

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Science is a marathon: what long-term opportunistic data can tell us about New Zealand sperm whales

We all have in mind these targeted and organized research projects, where scientists go into the field and collect specific data. But not everything in the scientific realm is as predictable as that. Some events, such as cetacean strandings, are unexpected and may only happen a few times per year. Still, there can be a …

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New research suggests dolphin infanticide in Japan

dolphin infanticide

Our friend Leanne Rosser from Japan just made a disturbing yet fascinating discovery: she observed a potential dolphin infanticide event (the killing of an infant) in the population of Pacific white-sided dolphins she studies in Mutsu Bay, Japan. In this post, she tells us about this event she witnessed, as well as the reasons behind …

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Scientists develop a model to reveal wild killer whales’ diets

A new study presented a method to reconstruct killer whales’ diets using the lipid composition of their blubber. By measuring these lipids, called fatty acids, in the killer whales’ fat and those in their potential prey, scientists can estimate the abundance of each prey species in the whales’ diet. This new method may hold the …

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Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins — April 2022

We’ve all heard about humpback whales. They are probably the most famous baleen whale species. But did you know humpback dolphins existed? There are actually four different species of humpback dolphins, all grouped in the genus Sousa. This month, we cover Sousa chinensis, the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin. This coastal dolphin needs our help; let’s find …

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Barataria Bay Bottlenose Dolphins — March 2022

This month we shine a light on a very specific population of bottlenose dolphins. We can encounter them right off the coast of Louisiana, in Barataria Bay. The Barataria Bay dolphins are not much different than other populations found off the Gulf of Mexico coastline. However, they face specific stresses that threaten the survival of …

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