marine mammals

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Today's Sperm Whales Descended From One 'Eve'

An ancient whale appears to be the mother of all modern sperm whales

(Newser) - While investigating samples of toxic levels of heavy metals found in sperm whales, researchers stumbled upon a surprising discovery: All of today's sperm whales appear to have descended from the same female, reports Hakai magazine. They've named her Eve and say she lived between 10,000 and 80,... More »

Porpoises Use Sound Like a Flashlight

They can adjust the beam as they zero in on prey

(Newser) - Porpoises have the amazing ability to not only locate prey with a beam of sound, but adjust the field of clicks and buzzes as they move in for the kill, preventing the fish from slipping away, a new study finds. The lead researcher from Denmark's Aarhus University tells the... More »

This Could Be World's Most Endangered Animal

Newly identified Gulf whale species lives in single canyon

(Newser) - A new species of whale has been identified in an underwater canyon in the Gulf of Mexico, but scientists fear they won't have long to get to know it: There are only about 50 of the unique species of Bryde's whale left in waters off the Florida Panhandle,... More »

After 50 Years, Mysterious Ocean Quack Identified

'Bio-duck' is actually minke whale

(Newser) - A mysterious quacking noise in the ocean that has baffled scientists for decades has finally been identified, researchers say. Acoustic recorders placed on Antarctic minke whales have produced what NOAA experts say is "conclusive evidence" that the sound is their chatter, the BBC reports. The sound was dubbed the... More »

Deepest-Diving Mammal on Planet Named

Study finds Cuvier's beaked whale swims down almost 2 miles

(Newser) - Cuvier's beaked whales are a rare sight—perhaps because they appear to be the deepest-diving mammals in existence. In a new study, researchers found that the creatures were able to reach a depth of nearly 1.9 miles, Reuters reports. In another record-breaking dive, a beaked whale was able... More »

Newly Discovered Dolphin Species Needs Name

Humpbacks live off northern Australia coast

(Newser) - A species of dolphin that lives off the coast of northern Australia is so new to science that it doesn't have a name yet. Scientists knew about the dolphin populations, but they were thought to be part of another humpback dolphin species until genetic testing revealed that they were... More »

Dolphins Have Astounding 'Social Memory'

Can recall whistles 20 years later

(Newser) - Dolphins not only have names for each other , their memories are so good that they can remember the "signature whistles" of friends—and enemies—for at least 20 years, according to a new study. Researchers studied scores of captive bottlenose dolphins that had been shifted around the US and... More »

Discovered: How Whales Can Hold Their Breath Underwater

And why you can't

(Newser) - How come some mammals—like whales—can hold their breath underwater for up to an hour, while others—like you—can't? British biologists have figured it out. Scientists at the University of Liverpool have found that deep sea diving mammals have more electrically charged proteins in their blood. The... More »

South Korea Plans to Resume Whale Hunt

Critics slam plan for 'scientific' whaling

(Newser) - South Korea has announced that it plans to join Japan in hunting whales for "scientific research." The country's delegation to the International Whaling Commission said the hunt for minke whales was needed "for the proper assessment of whale stocks," but anti-whaling countries and groups charged... More »

Louisiana's Rogue Dolphin Entertains ... and Bites

3 people who got too close have been bitten by Katrina survivor

(Newser) - Residents of an upscale New Orleans suburb have been warned to stay away from their friendly neighborhood dolphin. The young bottlenose dolphin, who arrived in a canal off the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain after Hurricane Katrina, is a big hit with boaters and swimmers, but has bitten at least... More »

Navy: Sonar, Blasts Way Harmful Than We Thought

1.6K whales, dolphins could face injury, hearing loss in year

(Newser) - The Navy's use of sonar and explosives could deal damage to some 1,600 marine mammals near California and Hawaii every year—a figure far higher than once believed. The whales and dolphins are at risk of hearing loss and other injuries, the AP reports. What's more, the... More »

Dolphin Rescue Video Makes a Splash

Brazilian beachgoers save pod after mass stranding

(Newser) - So long, and thanks for all the help. Beachgoers come to the rescue of some 30 stranded dolphins in a video racking up plenty of views on YouTube, AP reports. Dozens of shocked people at the beach near Rio de Janeiro look on as the pod suddenly beaches itself. They... More »

Dozens of Dolphins Die at Cape Cod

Rash of strandings puzzles experts

(Newser) - Volunteers in Cape Cod are scrambling to deal with an unusual spate of dolphin strandings. A solitary dolphin was found stranded last Thursday and dozens more followed in the days after. Nineteen were treated and released but eight others couldn't be saved, and another 32 washed ashore already dead,... More »

Biologist Indicted for Feeding Killer Whales

California researcher broke law with blubber, feds say

(Newser) - A renowned marine biologist has landed in hot water for giving blubber to killer whales. Nancy Black, who runs whale-watching tours in California's Monterey Bay, has been indicted by a grand jury on charges that she violated a federal law banning feeding or otherwise interfering with marine mammals in... More »

Whale That Killed Trainer to Perform Again

SeaWorld putting Tilikum back to work

(Newser) - Tilikum, the killer whale that drowned a trainer last year and has been involved in two other human deaths, is returning to show business. Officials at Orlando's SeaWorld say the 6-ton whale, the largest killer whale in captivity, will take part in shows beginning today. The park has spent millions... More »

Navy Sonar Terrifies Beaked Whales

Sonar exercises linked to mass beachings

(Newser) - A new study has provided the strongest evidence yet that naval sonar is responsible for the stranding and death of large groups of beaked whales. Researchers working near the US Navy's Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center found that the whales stopped making their clicking and buzzing calls during live... More »

Walruses Short-Changed on Fed Protection

Endangered tuskers 'low on the totem pole'

(Newser) - The Interior Department has decided that walruses are endangered enough to warrant protection—but it's not going to give it to them. The threat to the Pacific walrus from global warming reducing Arctic sea ice is very real, officials say, but limited government resources mean protection will have to wait... More »

Whales Return to NYC

'Menagerie of giants' calling New York's waters home

(Newser) - Whales have returned to the waters around the Big Apple in numbers not seen for at least a century, a comeback experts believe is the result of anti-hunting laws and cleaner waters. Dolphins and seals have also made triumphant returns, and one ferryboat captain estimates the numbers of marine mammals... More »

US Base in Japan Yanks Dolphin-Hunt Documentary

Cove's defiant director plans to hand out DVDs

(Newser) - US commanders wary of offending the Japanese have canceled screenings of Oscar-winning documentary The Cove, but that won't silence its message, its director tells the AP . Louie Psihoyos says he plans to hand out DVDs of the movie, which shows the gruesome annual dolphin hunt in a Japanese town, at... More »

Commission Mulls Lifting Whaling Ban

Whales have been saved, IWC policymakers argue

(Newser) - Whale populations have rebounded so strongly since the 1986 global ban on commercial whaling that the International Whaling Commission is considering loosening it. The IWC is mulling a compromise proposal that would condone whaling by ban-defying nations Norway, Iceland, and Japan in return for a reduction in the number of... More »

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