Science

Whales go from 'right-handed' to left

Scientist studying blue whale feeding habits have documented a switch from ‘right-hand’ to left when these huge creatures feed.

Blue whales are similar to many other creatures when it comes to ‘handeness’ or laterality.  They tend to always favour the right. However, results from a six year study of their behaviour off the coast of southern California have revealed that the whales will swap sides when feeding.

Bowhead whales filmed exfoliating on rocks in arctic

For the first time bowhead whales have been filmed rubbing themselves on rocks to remove dead skin in Cumberland Sound in Nunavut, northern Canada.

While local inuits and whalers had previously documented seeing whales taking part in this activity it had never been clear why. Now, with the help of drones, researchers have been able to see that large pieces of dead skin are removed during the process with the findings published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE.

Conserving Migratory Species

Some species of whales and dolphins can migrate many thousands of miles, travelling through the national waters of a number of different countries to get to their destinations.

New study uses facial recognition to identify dolphins

For many years, the leading non-invasive way to identify whales and dolphins has been to use photo-identification. Some markings on certain parts of their bodies, such as tail flukes in some species or dorsal fin in others, can remain largely unchanged throughout their lives which enables scientists to closely follow the lives of individuals.

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