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Mysterious beaked whale broke the diving record for mammals



Beaked whaleImage copyright
Danielle Waples/Duke University

A little-known shy whale was submerged for nearly four hours, which surprised scientists.

Cuvier’s beaked whales are known for their deep diving ability, and they average about an hour underwater.

But when the researchers recorded an animal̵

7;s diving in 3 hours and 42 minutes, they were surprised.

They believe that this is the longest dive time recorded by any whale so far, and it is almost certain that the same is true for all mammals.

The beaked whale species is a bit mysterious to scientists, who spend a lot of time away from the coast.

Cuvier’s beaked whale has a strong body with a small head and a short bill. The male seems to have two teeth for fighting, and the female does not seem to have any teeth.

Image copyright
Danielle Waples/Duke University

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A group of three beaked whales

They usually hunt squids for food and usually suck these creatures into their mouths to eat them.

Scientists say that these whales dived about 3 billion underwater while pursuing their favorite food.

When they surface, they will take about two minutes to dive again, which means it is difficult for researchers to observe and mark them.

In 2014, a whale was recorded diving for just over two hours, which is the longest known underwater time.

In this latest study, the researchers recorded that two dozen Cuvier’s beaked whales dived more than 3,600 times in five years.

They recorded diving from about half an hour to two hours (thirteen minutes), far exceeding the time for an animal of this size to run out of oxygen.

But the two dives of a whale “shocked” the research team.

One hour is nearly three hours, and the other three hours and 42 minutes.

Image copyright
Andrew Reid/Duke University

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Beaked whale with label

Dr. Nicola Quick from Duke University of Durham University, USA, said: “The longest diving time of this species is about two and a half hours, so this is the longest diving time of Cuvier’s beaked whale. , But it is also the longest diving time of all mammals.”.

Although it was recorded that this person completed these extremely long dives, Dr. Quick said that her research showed that a large portion of the animals observed can be in low positions for a long time.

Researchers speculate that the metabolism of whales may be very slow, which may be related to greater than average oxygen storage and the ability to tolerate lactic acid accumulation.

Dr. Quick said: “The structure of their body muscles is different from what you might expect from a deep sea diver.”

“Their brains are small and their lung capacity is quite small. A lot of their muscle tissue is great for storing oxygen, which may help them extend their diving time.”

Image copyright
Andrew Reid/Duke University

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Male beaked whale showing teeth

Fear may also be involved in record diving.

This species is vulnerable to attack by killer whales and large sharks. The whale’s response to threats is to stay underwater for as long as possible until the predator moves away.

Deep diving may also be a response to humans. The recording took place about 24 days after being exposed to active sonar signals from the U.S. Navy, and the researchers excluded them from the data set because they may be affected by noise.

It is well known that Cuvier’s beaked whales are sensitive to sonar, and other experts believe that this may have an impact on the length of diving.

Nicola Hodgkins of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Organization said: “The recorded diving time may not be typical, more than three hours, but the result of one person has reached the absolute limit.”

“According to records, only one whale exhibited a hazard due to the extremely high noise emitted by military sonar, and therefore exhibited abnormal behavior, and was therefore recorded as conducting this extreme diving.”

The research team found that there is almost no relationship between the dive time and the recovery time required before the whale sinks again.

Scientists believe that studying these deep diving animals may provide some clues to challenging issues such as human cancer.

Dr. Quick said: “There is a certain interest in working with Duke University’s oncology colleagues and even with Covid because it involves cells losing oxygen or being in a hypoxic state.”

“So if the tissues of these whales are in a hypoxic state and we can find out what they are doing, will this have other effects on human health or the health of the entire ocean?”

The research has been published in the “Journal of Experimental Biology”.

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