Researchers Document Amazing New Things About Whales

April 4, 2014 at 3:52 PM Leave a comment

I am newly in awe of whales:

Beaked Whale via Wikipedia

Beaked Whale (Image via Wikipedia)

Think about how long you can hold your breath and then let this discovery blow your mind.

Northwest-based whale researchers have documented a new breath-hold record among mammals. They timed a dive by a beaked whale that lasted 2 hours and 17 minutes.

A paper published in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS One by scientists with the Cascadia Research Collective of Olympia revealed two new records. The researchers tagged Cuvier’s beaked whales, a rarely seen species which forages in deep ocean waters worldwide, including off the U.S. West Coast.

Lead study author Greg Schorr says his team tracked thousands of dives by these whales. The longest lasted 137 minutes.

“Imagine holding your breath while flying from Seattle to San Jose,” says Schorr. “That would be similar to what these animals are capable of doing.”

Schorr says one beaked whale also dove deeper than any other mammal seen before, including the previous record holder, a southern elephant seal. The tagged whale dove nearly two miles below the surface — 2,992 meters deep.

How in the world do they do that?!

“They basically can store huge amounts of oxygen in their muscle tissue and release it in a very controlled manner to allow them to dive to these depths,” explains Schoor.


Amazing animals. Maybe we should stop slaughtering them like they’re catfish (here’s lookin’ at you Japan).


Entry filed under: Animals (Other Than Us).

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