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Bottlenose dolphins © Christopher Swann

On the anniversary of the massacre of 1,423 dolphins, what’s changed?

One year ago today, 1,423 Atlantic white-sided dolphins, including mothers with calves and pregnant females,...
Sperm whale (physeter macrocephalus) Gulf of California. The tail of a sperm whale.

To protect whales, we must stop ignoring the high seas

Almost two-thirds of the ocean, or 95% of the habitable space on Earth, are sloshing...
A dolphin plays in front of the WDC Scottish Dolphin Centre at Spey Bay

Sharing our Spey Bay stories – tell us yours

2022 is Scotland's Year of Stories, a year in which stories inspired by, created or...
Orcas in Australia

Did orcas help rescue entangled humpback whale?

Kidzone - quick links Fun Facts Our Goals Curious kids Kids blogs Fantastic fundraisers Gallery...
An orca named 'Hulk' off Caithness, Scotland

My amazing week watching orcas in Scotland

Orca Watch's 10th anniversary event in the far north of Scotland was exhilarating with a...

Faroes dolphin hunt review – disappointing is an understatement

I wasn't alone in hoping that substantial changes would be made as a result of...
Minke whale - V Mignon

We told them this would happen! Time to halt cruel whale experiments

An ill-conceived and so far ill-fated joint US/ Norwegian experiment to test minke whales' reaction...
Sponging dolphin in Shark Bay

Dolphins who catch fish with shells

Kidzone - quick links Fun Facts Our Goals Curious kids Kids blogs Fantastic fundraisers Gallery...

Animal Olympics – The Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises are the record breakers!

As we focus on our own sporting prowess at the London 2012 Olympics, maybe it is a good time to think about some of the gold-medal holders in the animal kingdom too.

Humpback whale

LONGEST SWIM
The longest mammal migrations are made by the whales too – a humpback travelling from its feeding ground in Antarctica to the breeding ground off Colombia may cover 5,176 miles (8,334 km). The gray whales are also contenders for this gold medal and also cover vast distances.

Sperm whale

DEEPEST DIVING
The deepest diving mammal is probably the sperm whale. 2000 m has been recorded but indirect evidence indicates that they may go a further 1000 m. The beaked whale family are contenders for this medal too and are known to dive to similar depths.

LONGEST DIVER
The record for the longest dive may belong to the sperm whale too – two hours and 18 minutes were recorded. Team Beaked Whale is again a contender in this sport.

Blue whale

LARGEST
Of course the largest animal on Earth is the blue whale – the heaviest recorded weighed 209 tons (190 tonnes) and the longest measured 110 feet and 2 inches (33.5 m). A similar length to a Boeing 737 jet airliner. (The fin whale comes second!) 

LOUDEST VOICE
The loudest sounds made by any animal also come from the blue whale (and the fin whale) – these low frequency pulses can be up to 188 decibels.

MOST TUNEFUL
The longest and most complex song produced by any animal is that of the humpback whale. Each song may last for half any hours and contains many components.

Team Whale are also contenders in the following events:

Dall's porpoise

FASTEST SWIMMER
Dall’s porpoises can reach 30 knots which is about 34.5 miles per hour.

Spinner dolphin

MARINE GYMNASTICS
The spinner dolphins with their amazing high spinning leaps from the water might be the gold medallists here but don’t discount the amazing aerial displays by the humpback whales.

LONGEST LIVED
Perhaps not really a sport but certainly an important attribute and the bowhead whale is now known to live up to about 200 years. This probably makes them the longest-lived vertebrate animal.  

About George Berry

George is a member of WDC's Communications team and website coordinator.