Whale Biology

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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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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Bros for life! Dolphin males can form life-long relationships with one another

Dolphin males can sometimes form life-long friendships with one another. This type of relationship is known in the field as “male pair bonds.” These bonds are typically formed between two males (sometimes three) of similar age. The males in the pair bond will engage in a range of cooperative activities, like hunting and courting females, …

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Dolphins have super healing powers

Life as a dolphin isn’t always easy, and predators are always lurking in the shadows of the deep ocean. Throughout their lives, dolphins may suffer diverse injuries, from shark bites to boat propeller wounds to even sunburns! But dolphins must recover quickly if they wish to survive in the ocean. Good news for our slippery …

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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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