Toothed whales

Sizing them up! Scientists use sound to measure sperm whales

Studying large creatures, like whales can be difficult. Especially when they spend most of their time deep underwater. But scientists have become pretty creative in their approach to studying them, especially when it comes to quantitative attributes. In this post, we will discuss how scientists can measure the size of sperm whales by using their …

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Kogia: dwarf and pygmy sperm whales – November 2021

Whalecome to our new whales of the month: the dwarf and pygmy sperm whales. Like their cousin, the sperm whale, they like to spend most of their time deep underwater to hunt their favorite prey: squid and deep-sea fish, and crustaceans. Did you know they can release “ink” from their butts to confuse predators?! Find …

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Whale Scientists Story – Enrico Corsi

Enrico Corsi

Enrico Corsi is a 29-year-old Italian marine mammalogist. He is currently doing his PhD in the Marine Conservation Ecology Lab at Florida International University in Miami. Here is his story. A fascination for the living world I was always fascinated by the life sciences as far back as I could remember. I was that 90s …

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Some fish-eating orcas have worn out teeth: Here’s why

Worn-out teeth, also called tooth wear, are pretty common in cetaceans. Although there are many documented cases of tooth wear in captivity, worn-out teeth exist in wild whales. And especially those who eat a lot of fish, like herring-eating killer whales. In this post, we explain why eating some fish can damage wild killer whale …

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Whales of Mystery: We know so little about beaked whales

Twenty-two species of beaked whales live ocean-wide. They inhabit waters from the tropics to the poles. For such a cosmopolitan family, little is known about beaked whales. So, what exactly are beaked whales, and why are they so hard to study? The most mysterious cetaceans Beaked whales belong to the Ziphiidae family. So-named for their …

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The Yangtze finless porpoise – July 2021

Happy July! This month, we decided to celebrate the Yangtze finless porpoise. You might have heard of the Baiji, also called the Yangtze river dolphin. Sadly, the species was officially declared to be extinct in 2006. Yet, another freshwater species resides in the Yangtze River, and if you thought the Irrawaddy dolphin was the cutest, …

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Don’t flip out: whales jump for more than one porpoise

Have you ever asked, “Why do whales jump?” Well, there’s not a precise answer, but we will try to answer it in this post, so keep reading. If you’ve ever played in shallow water, you might have used your feet to push off the bottom and pretend to jump out of the water like a …

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How did whales become the world’s deepest-diving mammals?

How long can you hold your breath underwater? If you’re not a professional free-diver or a navy seal, chances are you’ll probably reach around a minute or two. While the human record of natural underwater breath-holding lies at an impressive 11 minutes, marine mammals easily beat all the records. Cuvier’s beaked whales are the ultimate …

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Hector’s dolphins – April 2021

This April, let’s celebrate Hector’s dolphins (Cephalorhynchus hectori). They are the only cetaceans endemic to New Zealand, which means they are only found there. Hector’s dolphins actually include two subspecies: the endangered South Island’s Hector’s dolphins and the critically endangered Maui dolphin. Let’s find out more about Hector’s dolphins in this post. One of the …

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Preying on marine mammals might be threatening the survival of Icelandic orcas

Scientists have for a long time thought that orcas in Iceland specialized in eating fish (like herring). Recently, however, experts have noticed that some Icelandic orcas seem to enjoy another type of snack: marine mammals. This could be a problem, and eating marine mammals could threaten the long-term survival of these orcas. In this post, …

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