whales

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There's a Simple Reason Blue Whales Got So Huge

They pigged out on fish: study

(Newser) - Scientists think they've figured out why the biggest whales—those of the baleen variety, including blue whales—got so big. As they explain in a study in Proceedings of the Royal Society B , the researchers found that these behemoths didn't really become behemoths until about 4.5 million... More »

'Unprecedented' Orca Hunting Frenzy Caught on Film

In just seven days, the orcas have killed four whales in Monterey, California

(Newser) - A pod of killer whales off the coast of Monterey, California, has intrigued biologists by going on a frenzied hunting spree that’s killed four gray whales in just seven days. Nancy Black, a local marine biologist and co-owner of Monterey Bay Whale Watch, caught the latest attack on camera... More »

Baby Humpback Whales 'Whisper' to Their Moms

And that could be a sign of high intelligence

(Newser) - Baby humpback whales "whisper" to their mothers, according to a paper published Tuesday in Functional Ecology . And that could speak volumes about the intelligence of these aquatic giants. NPR reports scientists—for the first time ever—attached recording devices directly to humpback calves. "It's like a squeaky... More »

Whale Trapped in Ice 'Crying Like a Baby'

A 'very, very sad' scene, neighbor says

(Newser) - A humpback whale trapped in ice off Newfoundland is likely doomed unless weather conditions change in the coming days. Residents noticed the whale stuck in shallow water on Friday near Old Perlican. Hemmed in by ice, the creature cannot escape. "You can see the blood on the ice where... More »

Japan Kills 333 Whales During Annual Hunt

Activists have long called for an end to the practice

(Newser) - Japan's annual Antarctic whale hunt killed 333 whales this year, the AFP reports. The five-ship whaling fleet set out in November and returned to port Friday with the minke whale carcasses. The country's Fisheries Agency says the mission was necessary for "research for the purpose of studying... More »

New Habit of Humpbacks Puzzles Researchers

Scientists have spotted them in groups as big as 200 for first time

(Newser) - Humpback whales, which humans have long observed to be solitary creatures, are gathering in large groups to feed, and it's kind of astounding the scientists who study them. Typically living alone or in pairs, a group of 10 to 15 is considered big, but research crews have now spotted... More »

Underwater Video From 2013 Ended Up Being a Big Deal

The whales filmed were actually True's beaked whales

(Newser) - A group of students got an unforgettable science lesson in May 2013—but just how unforgettable is only now coming to light. While on an expedition in the Azores some 950 miles west of Portugal, as many as four beaked whales surfaced and spent about 10 minutes near a small... More »

After Whales Refloated, a Devastating Setback

240 whales from new pod now stranded on NZ beach

(Newser) - A new pod of 240 whales swam aground at a remote New Zealand beach on Saturday just hours after weary volunteers managed to refloat a different group of whales following an earlier mass stranding . In total, more than 650 pilot whales have beached themselves along a 3-mile stretch of coastline... More »

'Utterly Heartbreaking' Scene on Remote Beach

400 whales stranded; New Zealanders scramble to rescue survivors

(Newser) - Volunteers are scrambling to rescue scores of whales after one of the worst strandings in New Zealand's history. About 275 of the pilot whales were already dead when magazine writer Cheree Morrison and two colleagues found them early Friday on Farewell Spit, a remote beach at the tip of... More »

One 2-Ton Whale Was No Match for 30 Plastic Bags

Bags, other waste found in stomach of euthanized whale in Norway

(Newser) - Norwegian zoologists have found about 30 plastic bags and other plastic waste in the stomach of a beaked whale that had beached on a southwestern Norway coast, the AP reports. The visibly sick, 2-ton goose-beaked whale was euthanized, Terje Lislevand of Bergen University said Friday. "The [whale's] stomach... More »

Near Ocean's Deepest Spot, a 3.5-Second Symphony

Scientists believe it comes from minke whales

(Newser) - The 3.5-second symphony covers nearly half of the sound range that humans can hear, rising from a frequency as low as 38 hertz to an 8,000-hertz "metallic finale." But unless you make a detour to waters above the deepest spot in the ocean, you might never... More »

Beached Whale Free After Calf Seen Nudging Her

Both make it back to deeper waters

(Newser) - Workers in Australia's Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services were saved some work Wednesday morning, and they've apparently got a young humpback whale to thank. Responding to help an adult whale beached on a sandbar, the workers found that she had managed to free herself before they got there.... More »

Scientists Might've Accidentally Killed an Endangered Orca

Tracking dart possibly led to fungal infection

(Newser) - Scientists hoping to protect endangered orcas might have inadvertently killed one instead. A killer whale tagged by NOAA researchers in Washington state in February turned up dead in British Columbia five weeks later, reports the CBC . On Wednesday, US researchers released a report suggesting the 20-year-old whale, known as L95,... More »

Clever Seal Goes to Desperate Lengths to Dodge Killer Whales

'Most intense epic experience ever': boat owner

(Newser) - Seals are cute, curious, and apparently quite resourceful when they're trying to avoid becoming someone's dinner, per a story out of British Columbia. The CBC reports on the adventures of a survival-minded seal who, desperately trying to escape the clutches of the ravenous orcas pursuing it, hopped aboard... More »

Whale as Old as the Titanic Spotted in the Pacific

'Granny' spotted leaping near the coast of Washington

(Newser) - Whale watchers off the coast of Washington saw a welcome sight last week—a killer whale nicknamed "Granny" who is believed to be an astonishing 105 years old, reports the San Francisco Chronicle . Granny's more formal name among scientists who have studied her for decades is J2, and... More »

Humpbacks Save Other Animals From Orcas

The 'why' part is unclear

(Newser) - Whale researchers say they've collected enough evidence to make a remarkable assertion: Humpback whales deliberately save other creatures from killer whales. The scientists collected 115 accounts between 1951 and 2012, they write in Marine Mammal Science . Maine ecologist Robert Pitman got the idea for the survey after seeing an... More »

There's a New Whale Species, and It's a Big One

24-foot 'raven' beaked whale found in Alaskan waters led to discovery of new species

(Newser) - When a 24-foot whale carcass washed up on the beach of a remote Alaskan island in 2014, a researcher was pretty sure it was a dark version of a Baird's beaked whale, National Geographic reports. But per a new study published in Marine Mammal Science , it was an entirely... More »

Whales Grieve for Their Young Like Human Parents

'They know something is wrong': study co-author

(Newser) - Whales are known for their intelligence —and now they may become known for their emotions and parental instincts, too. A study in the Journal of Mammalogy has found that at least seven species of toothed whales—including killer, sperm, and short-finned pilot whales, as well as four dolphin varieties—... More »

Lucky Couple Finds Precious Lump of Smelly Whale Vomit

It could get them more than $70K

(Newser) - Good fortune has never smelled so bad. The Mirror reports Gary and Angela Williams found a lump of "floating gold"—more accurately described as whale vomit—Sunday while walking on a British beach. It wasn't too hard to find the ambergris, which is both rare and valuable;... More »

Scientists Answer Weird Question About Moby Dick

Yes, sperm whales could batter a ship with their heads

(Newser) - A multinational team of researchers set out to settle what has oddly been a longstanding dispute in scientific circles: whether, in Moby Dick-esque fashion, sperm whales could use their heads to bash seagoing vessels. And it seems that Herman Melville got it right. Writing in the journal PeerJ , researchers concluded... More »

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