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Blog Tags: Blue Whale

A Blue Whale’s Life Story Revealed Through Ear Wax

Blue whales are probably the largest animal that has ever lived. (Photo: NOAA Photo Library) 

Instead of our weekly Creature Feature, we’d like share an awesome new finding about one well-known ocean creature, the blue whale. Scientists discovered that earwax can reveal amazingly details about the life of whales, according to a study published last week in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


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If You Could be Any Ocean Animal...

OH_animals

Have you ever dreamed of being a dolphin? Or maybe an anglerfish, octopus, or sea turtle?

Exploring the oceans from one of these animals points of view would be an exciting (and eye opening) experience.

So what marine animal would you be if you had the chance to be any creature in the ocean? We posed this question to our Ocean Heroes finalists, and here’s what they had to say. See if you can match their responses to the pictures above (answers at the bottom of this post)!

Michele Hunter – Harbor seal

Hardy Jones – Sperm whale

Kristofor Lofgren – Mako shark

Dave Rauschkolb – Porpoise

Richard Steiner – Polar bear (I like the odds and the challenge they face)

Donald Voss – Humpback whale

Sara Brenes – Tiger Shark

Calvineers – Blue whale

Sam Harris – Tiger Shark

James Hemphill – Hawksbill Sea Turtle (I have always been amazed at all the colors on its shell and how gracefully and peacefully it swims)

Teakahla WhiteCloud – Dolphin

Make sure to vote for your favorite Ocean Heroes, open from now until July 11th. Stay tuned to learn more about our finalists!

Photo Credits (clockwise from top left): Sperm Whale: Oceana/Juan Cuentos, Tiger Shark: Albert Kok, Harbor Seal: NOAA, Hawksbill Turtle: NOAA/Caroline Rogers, Porpoise: NOAA, Tiger Shark: Austin Gallagher, Humpback Whale: NOAA, Dolphin: Oceana/Eduardo Sorenson, Mako Shark: NOAA, Polar bear: NOAA, Blue Whale: NOAA (middle)


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Whale Wednesday: Tiny and Weird Edition

An Australian paleobiologist has made a curious discovery about the origins of baleen whales. Studying the 25-million-year-old fossil of a primitive toothed baleen whale, Mammalodon colliveri, Dr. Erich Fitzgerald hypothesized that the early whale used its tongue and short, blunt snout to suck small prey from sand and mud on the seafloor. Yummy.

Fitzgerald’s work supports Darwin's notion that some of the earliest baleen whales may have been mudsuckers before they were filter-feeders.

And apparently the three-meter-long Mammalodon was actually a dwarf, though its name brings to mind its relative, the blue whale -- the largest animall in the history of the world.

As Dr. Fitzgerald said, “Clearly the seas off southern Australia were a cradle for the evolution of a variety of tiny, weird whales that seem to have lived nowhere else.”


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Whale Wednesday: Baby Blue

scientists look for blue whales

More National Geographic love this week, only this time whale-related. Yesterday I went to NatGeo's "Tuesday at Noon" series, which I've been meaning to go to for a while. Every week they show a free short film, this week's was "Kingdom of the Blue Whale," and it followed scientists in their attempts to tag and photograph blue whales in the Pacific. Not only was it a nice break in the day, but I got my blue whale fix -- which, as you may have noticed, I'm mildly obsessed with -- and I was soothed by Tom Selleck's classy narration.


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