Dan's Conservation Blog

Record Breakers

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So the 2012 Olympics have come and gone with records being broken in many disciplines, so what better opportunity to see what record breakers there are in the world of marine mammals…

Starting at the top of the ‘medal table’, so to speak, we have the blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus). It is the largest animal to have ever lived, reaching over 100ft long (30m) and weighing a very hefty 180,000kg. It also has the loudest voice, which can be heard by other whales hundreds of miles away (in fact researchers studying these creatures theorise that a blue whale off Nova Scotia could communicate with a blue whale all the way down in the Gulf of Mexico!). However, despite its size, it is not the longest lived of the great whales – that title belongs to the bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus), which is thought to live well over 100 years and could possibly even approach 200 years.

As for distances, the deepest diver is the sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) at well over 6500ft (2000m) down into oceanic trenches in search of prey, including giant squid. This might seem like an impressive distance, but it pales in comparison to the distance a humpback whale (Megaptera novangaealiae) can cover on its annual migration – over 10,000 miles (16,000km) – the longest recorded migration of any species in the world. Finally we have the fastest swimmer in the form of the fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) that can achieve speeds of 25 knots, so that would leave even Michael Phelps in the distance!

Sealy Facts 1 of 3

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