Whale Biology

How Long Do Whales Live?

How long do whales live? Whales have some of the longest life spans in the mammal kingdom. In fact, several whale species have been recorded to live over 100 years old! Which whale lives the longest? Do captive whales live longer than their wild counterparts? How can we calculate the age of wild whales? Let’s …

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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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Got balls? Not like the Southern Right Whale!

In our world, we say size does not matter. However, we find animals in the wild kingdom with various large parts: elephants have large trunks, baboons have oversized butts … and male southern right whales have massive testes. This article will explain the unique features of whales’ reproductive systems and explore the potential reasons for …

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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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The largest heart in the animal kingdom belongs to the blue whale

At the start of this year, we talked about the blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus). Today we wanted to dive deeper into a specific part of their giant anatomy: their heart! It’s no surprise that blue whales have huge hearts since they are one of the largest animals ever to exist. Not only are these organs huge …

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One big tooth: Let’s talk about the narwhal’s tusk

In the far far north, close to the sea ice, lives a mysterious creature often called the unicorn of the sea: the narwhal. This animal owes its name to its tusk. In old Norse, the term nafarr means “auger”, which is a type of drill that resembles the narwhal’s spiraled tusk. Narwhals are quite elusive …

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Pass the sunscreen: do whales get sunburnt?

Whales and dolphins spend a good chunk of their time close to the surface, especially when they are resting or socializing. With no shade around, do whales get sunburnt? Do they have a natural defense against UV radiation? In this article, we come to the surface of the ocean to see how UV radiation affects …

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New research confirms dolphins have a working clitoris and likely feel sexual pleasure

The hot news is literally rocking the biological world right now. Anatomical evidence suggests that female dolphins have a working clitoris, just like female humans. Let’s find out more about this incredible new research published yesterday in Current Biology. How do you even study a dolphin’s clitoris? We know so little about marine mammals and …

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This species has the lowest teeth count of all dolphins

risso's dolphins teeth

Dolphins typically have between 100 and 200 identical teeth. Their teeth are typically shaped like cones to grab, grip, and secure prey before swallowing it whole. Dolphins may also use them to tear apart large chunks of flesh from their prey. Baby dolphins are born without teeth, and they gradually erupt from 2 to 5 …

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