Home > Biology, Nature, Science > Quite possibly the coolest thing ever: Part III

Quite possibly the coolest thing ever: Part III

February 23, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Along with SUVs, they’re now outfitting sperm whales with GPS.

What they’re finding with the GPS devices is awesome. When I was in grade school I wanted to be a marine biologist and study whales. The sperm whale was my second favorite kind of whale because of how deep it could dive, the first was the blue whale because they’re the biggest. Whenever a book showed an illustration of a sperm whale, they usually had a giant squid with its giant tentacles wrapped around. Generally if there was another picture of a giant squid it was usually a couple hundred year old wood carving of a squid attacking a giant boat. As an ultimate irony, I always assumed that the boats the squid were attacking were always whaling vessels.

Regardless, sperm whales were always shown one at a time. It was only natural to assume that they were solitary creatures. It turns out that they actually travel and hunt in groups. Those pictures of being in a octuple nelson with a squid are true, but instead of going mollusca-a-chordata it looks as if the whales form a group and corral a squid or numerous squid together and attack like as a pack.

The coolest thing is that this behavior has been seen in other sea mammals. Groups of dolphins and sea lions act in the same way, except instead of herding squid they herd fish. Some will keep the squid corralled into a ball while another will go through the ball and attack. These undersea hunts can take place 1,500 meters below the surface. To put that number into perspective, the tallest building in the world is the Burj Dubai in (wait for it) Dubai is 800 meters tall. The Sears Tower is about 450 meters. That’s three, THREE!!! Sears Towers deep.

I get winded walking up a slight incline, I can’t even fathom (did you see what I did there) engaging in a battle to the death  one and a half kilometers under water.

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  1. Amber
    February 25, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    oh SURE that’s the reason the sperm whale was a favorite!

    Kidding. That’s awesome. Can’t wait for more mysteries of the deep exploration..

    • DJ
      February 25, 2010 at 6:55 pm

      It’s also fun to say when you’re 10. Or 27. Don’t judge me.

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