Skip to content
All news
  • All news
  • About whales & dolphins
  • Corporates
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Green Whale
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Scottish Dolphin Centre
  • Stop whaling
  • Stranding
  • Whale watching
Majestic fin whales

Icelandic whalers kill first fin whales in four years

As feared, whale hunters in Iceland have slaughtered at least two fin whales, the first...

Majority of Icelandic people think whaling harms their country’s reputation

With the very real prospect of Iceland's only fin whale hunter, Kristján Loftsson sending boats...
Humpback whale underwater

Humpback whale rescued from shark net in Australia

A humpback whale and her calf have managed to escape after becoming entangled in a...
Long-finned pilot whale

Fishermen in Norway eat pilot whale after entanglement in net

According to local reports, fishermen in Norway ate meat from a long-finned pilot whale after...

Early whales hearing similar to land animals

Whales and dolphins are renowned for their sensitive hearing but new research published in Current Biology suggests this was not always the case.

Using a CT scanner, scientists examined the fossils of two whales discovered during the last century in Togo, Africa. The whales were around 43-46 million years old, and while they lived in the sea, they still had legs which allowed them access to the land. Even though they would have been feeding on fish, they had not yet developed the ability to echolocate, used by modern-day toothed whales and dolphins.

Examination of their inner ears indicates these early whales could not yet pick up the extremes of high or low frequency sounds their descendants can. The separation into toothed and baleen whales occured around 35 million years ago and while it seems likely their specialised hearing evolved after this, the scientists have not ruled the possibility of discovering a common ancestor with highly developed hearing.

M. Mourlam and M. Orliac. Infrasonic and Ultrasonic Hearing Evolved after the Emergence of Modern Whales. Current Biology. Published online June 8, 2017. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.04.061.

About George Berry

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