blue whale

19 Stories

Blue Whales Carry Surprising Levels of Another Species' DNA

North Atlantic blue whales receiving fin whale DNA through mating with hybrid offspring

(Newser) - The blue whale population has started to recover from the devastation brought by commercial whaling in the early 20th century. But the world's largest ever animal isn't quite the same. In analyzing the genomes of Balaenoptera musculus musculus—the "most endangered" of four subspecies of blue whale,...

This Guy Might've Been the Heaviest Animal Earth's Seen

Meet the long-extinct Perucetus colossus

(Newser) - There could be a new contender for heaviest animal to ever live. While today's blue whale has long held the title, the AP reports that scientists have dug up fossils from an ancient giant that could tip the scales. Researchers described the new species—named Perucetus colossus, or "...

This Whale Sucks In an Astounding Amount of Microplastics

Blue whales, as well as other baleens, are ingesting millions of the tiny particles daily

(Newser) - Baleen whales —which include blue whales and humpbacks—are a type of whale that uses special filters instead of teeth to collect and eat small prey like krill and fish. Now, in a research first, scientists examining the consumption habits of these marine mammals have found they're...

Orcas Can Kill the Largest Animal on Earth
Orcas Can Kill the
Largest Animal on Earth
in case you missed it

Orcas Can Kill the Largest Animal on Earth

Scientists for the first time witness an orca pod kill a blue whale

(Newser) - It turns out the largest animal on the planet has a predator. Scientists have confirmed that a pod of orcas was able to kill and eat an adult blue whale, and what they observed was a gruesome scene. Per a paper published in Marine Mammal Science , scientists write that three...

After Ship Sinks, Dead Turtles With Throat Damage Wash Up

A dozen dolphins have been found dead as well

(Newser) - Nearly a hundred carcasses of turtles with throat and shell damage, as well as a dozen dead dolphins and a blue whale, have washed ashore in Sri Lanka since a container ship burned and sank , raising fears of a severe marine disaster. Ecologists believe the deaths were directly caused by...

Unique Song Reveals New Population of Blue Whales
Never-Before-Heard Song
Leads to Ocean Discovery
in case you missed it

Never-Before-Heard Song Leads to Ocean Discovery

Researchers find new population of blue whales in Indian Ocean

(Newser) - Researchers studying whales in the western Indian Ocean were stumped. They recorded a whale song never heard before, one described as a "slow, bellowing ballad" by the New York Times . After some underwater sleuthing, they report a happy discovery in the journal Endangered Species Research: The song belongs to...

Beached Blue Whale's Cause of Death Found

Scientists say 79-foot whale was likely struck by ship

(Newser) - Scientists from the Marine Mammal Center in northern California believe they’ve discovered the cause of death of a female blue whale that washed up on a Marin County beach Thursday, and it's a human one. Injuries found on the 79-foot whale during a necropsy conducted Saturday—including 10...

There's a Simple Reason Blue Whales Got So Huge
There's a Simple Reason
Blue Whales Got So Huge
new study

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...

Blue Whale Tangled in Lines Eludes Calif. Rescuers

Experts worry giant creature will tire, die

(Newser) - Boats, airplanes, and helicopters searched the Southern California coast yesterday for a blue whale that got tangled in hundreds of feet of line, and rescuers said unless they free it, the massive mammal could die. A Los Angeles County sheriff's helicopter was among craft searching from Santa Barbara south...

Town May Get to Keep Unexploded Whale

Dismemberment job even bigger than museum expected

(Newser) - Cutting up the remains of the biggest creature on our planet is a big, messy, and expensive job, says the man leading the effort to dismember two dead blue whales washed up near a Newfoundland town , where residents at first feared they would explode. The museum official says he had...

Rotting Whale Might Not Explode After All

It's deflating, and museum says it will take it away

(Newser) - Residents of a Newfoundland town can breathe a sigh of relief: It looks like the carcass of a blue whale that washed up on the shores of Trout River might not explode after all. Officials feared it would , as gases swelled the creature's 81-foot-long body, but the whale has...

Town Fears Dead Whale Might Soon Explode

Newfoundland residents looking for help

(Newser) - It's bad enough that an endangered blue whale washed up on the shores of the Newfoundland town of Trout River. Worse is that the carcass has ballooned in size and looks set to explode at any moment, reports CBC . Town officials say they don't have the expertise or...

Whales Record Years of Pollution —in Their Earwax

10-inch tube shows when animal was exposed to chemicals

(Newser) - Learning the story of a blue whale's life is easy, if a little disgusting: It's all in the earwax. It forms a tube in the animal's long ear canal, "kind of like a candle that's been roughed up a bit," a researcher tells NPR...

In a First, Scientists Track Blue Whales by Song

Researchers able to zero in on mammoth creatures for study

(Newser) - Blue whales may be the planet's biggest creature, but that doesn't mean they're easy to track and study. This should help, however: Australian researchers on the Southern Ocean were able to get around what one called the "needle in a haystack" problem by dropping acoustic buoys...

Blue Whales Visit LA for Risky Meals

Shipping-area feeding grounds pose threat to endangered species

(Newser) - Visitors are thrilled by blue whales' frequent appearances at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach—but for the whales, such visits could be deadly, experts warn. The biggest port complex in the country now boasts "the densest concentration" of whales "close to shore in all of...

Great Blue Whales Scarf 500K Calories Per Mouthful

One lunge nets about 1,100 pounds of krill

(Newser) - The blue whale is the most mammoth creature ever to grace the planet, so it might behoove us puny little humans to pay attention to how it sustains its 100-ton-plus mass. Scientist Jeremy Goldbogen monitored some 265 great blues to determine their feeding efficiency (calories expended versus calories gained), reports...

Whales Face 'Serious' Sunburn Threat
 Whales Face 'Serious' 
 Sunburn Threat 
study says

Whales Face 'Serious' Sunburn Threat

Depleted ozone may be risk for already-endangered animals

(Newser) - Whales off the coast of Mexico seem to be getting bad sunburns, and scientists say ozone damage may be why. To survive, whales have to spend long periods on the ocean’s surface, and without clothes, fur, or feathers, they’re basically “sunbathing naked,” the AP notes. The...

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...

Blue Whales Sing Near NYC Coast

Mating call heard just 70 miles from Long Island

(Newser) - Experts have detected singing blue whales closer to the New York City coast than the endangered behemoths have ever been heard before, the Ithaca Journal reports. One of the whales was picked up by Cornell University bioacoustics experts recording just 70 miles from the city’s coastline. Scientists plan to...

19 Stories