It’s not an unusual sight out in the ocean: blue whales slurping up clouds of krill. But researchers most often have a boat’s eye view for this event. Now new drone footage from Oregon State University is giving them a whole new perspective on how these massive creatures, the largest animals on the planet, catch their dinner.
The oceans have been acting weird lately. While some sea creatures have boomed (octopuses), others have busted (humpback whales), and yet others literally melted into goo (starfish). Whether the causes are El Niño or the “Blob” or ultimately climate change, these events point to just how interconnected and poorly understood the ocean ecosystem is—how little of it observable by humans. A marine biologist who studies whales once likened finding a beached one to finding a specimen of a “space alien.” The sea is dark and full of mysteries.
You’ve probably watched enough Animal Planet to know that humpback whales communicate using clicks and whistles. But put on a pair of headphones and listen to the video above. Beneath the shrill chatter we’ve all heard before, there’s a much lower-pitched tone, eerily reminiscent of a human heartbeat.
We humans pride ourselves on our cultural diversity, but we’re not the only creatures that form unique societies. Turns out, two clans of sperm whales living near the Galápagos Islands speak different dialects — offering yet more evidence that animals have culture, too.
Apparently no one told a group of whales in Antarctica that they were supposed to be seen and not heard. Instead, what scientists believe is a new whale species is doing the exact opposite.