6 Fun Facts About Whales
50 million years of evolution has allowed the cetaceans to develop unusual skills and adaptations. Below you can learn 6 fun facts about whales, and some examples can even be considered as ‘superpowers’.
1. Fun Facts About Whales: The Loudest Creatures on Earth
Among the toothed whales, one species stands out as the loudest animal known to man—the Sperm whale. Underwater, these majestic creatures produce a series of sounds that have been measured at an astounding 230 dB. To put this in perspective, a lion’s roar hits about 115 dB, and a jet plane taking off reaches around 130 dB—nowhere near the volume of a Sperm whale’s call. Read some Amazing facts about the sound of whales and dolphins in our blog.
2. Multiple Stomachs: A Unique Adaptation
Some cetaceans possess multiple stomach chambers, a unique feature within their digestive system. This intriguing phenomenon has intrigued scientists, prompting further studies. Researchers speculate that the digestive systems of these whales, resembling those of ruminants (cattle animals), suggest a possible evolutionary connection. Whales likely started their evolution on land before adapting to ocean life.
The typical cetacean digestive system consists of four stomach compartments, though exceptions exist. Research by scientist James G. Mead demonstrated that mesoplodon-beaked whales can harbor up to 13 stomachs!
3. Singing Whales: An Underwater Symphony
Baleen whales are renowned for their unique vocalizations, audible for miles underwater. These structured sound sequences are vital in the social behaviors of these creatures. Male humpback whales are famous for their melodic ‘songs,’ not only composing new tunes but also learning them from one another. Previously believed to be solely a human trait, the vocal imitation ability of whales surprised researchers.
4. Remarkable Survival Skills
Humpback whales travel great distances every year between their breeding and feeding grounds. Southern hemisphere population of these animals undertakes yearly a journey of 10 000 km from the Arctic to reach equatorial regions where they spend the winters. Not only do the humpback whales undertake the longest migrations of all mammals but they are also associated with another remarkable ‘superpower’.
These whales do not have to eat for months because their bodies are equipped with blubber located under their skin. It is a thick layer of fat, accumulated nutrients and other important chemical components such as lipophilic contaminants which allow these animals to regulate their metabolism in the most efficient way. Humpbacks are able to rely on their blubber reserves for up to 9 months during their long journeys.
5. Extraordinary Longevity
The bowhead whales are believed to be the longest living mammals on Earth. Lifespan of these animals can exceed 200 years. Scientists have been studying them in order to find out their secret and if this knowledge could help human kind live longer. Research revealed that bowhead’s whale DNA contains some unusual features which enable them to protect themselves against cancer and other issues related to aging. However, it still hasn’t been established how to use this discovery for the benefit of humans.
6. Masters of Breath-Holding
The last but very interesting fun fact about whales is their breath-holding skills. Whales, as mammals, require air to breathe. Certain species, like beaked whales, demonstrate incredible diving capabilities, holding their breath for extended periods, sometimes reaching hours underwater.
Whales are remarkable creatures, each feature, and ability revealing astonishing adaptations and fun facts about whales that have fascinated scientists and sparked numerous studies to unravel their mysteries.