New research confirms dolphins have a working clitoris and likely feel sexual pleasure

The hot news is literally rocking the biological world right now. Anatomical evidence suggests that female dolphins have a working clitoris, just like female humans. Let’s find out more about this incredible new research published yesterday in Current Biology. How do you even study a dolphin’s clitoris? We know so little about marine mammals and their reproductive systems. In fact, it is really hard to study such a well-hidden organ, and researchers usually have to…

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The Blue Whale – January 2022

Happy New Year from all of us at Whale Scientists! My name is Bri, and this month I get to tell you all about the blue whale, the largest animal in the world. One of my strongest memories as a kid was visiting my local aquarium and looking up in awe at the life-sized blue whale mother and calf replicas hanging from the ceiling. It was easy for me to look at the giant tanks…

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This species has the lowest teeth count of all dolphins

Dolphins typically have between 100 and 200 identical teeth. Their teeth are typically shaped like cones to grab, grip, and secure prey before swallowing it whole. Dolphins may also use them to tear apart large chunks of flesh from their prey. Baby dolphins are born without teeth, and they gradually erupt from 2 to 5 months after birth. Once they erupt, these teeth will stay on for the dolphin’s life. In fact, scientists can age…

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The harbor porpoise – December 2021

Happy holiday season! This month, we decided to highlight a shy little odontocete, the harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena). They are not known for grand displays in the water, but we wanted to do them justice this month because we believe they do not get enough love! These shy little guys face various human threats, so keep reading to find out more about harbor porpoises! Is it a Dolphin? Harbor Porpoise vs Bottlenose Dolphin No, harbor…

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Sizing them up! Scientists use sound to measure sperm whales

Studying large creatures, like whales can be difficult. Especially when they spend most of their time deep underwater. But scientists have become pretty creative in their approach to studying them, especially when it comes to quantitative attributes. In this post, we will discuss how scientists can measure the size of sperm whales by using their clicks! A small pod of sperm whale calves. There are fewer than 300 sperm whales in Greek waters. Photograph: Getty Images…

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Kogia: dwarf and pygmy sperm whales – November 2021

Whalecome to our new whales of the month: the dwarf and pygmy sperm whales. Like their cousin, the sperm whale, they like to spend most of their time deep underwater to hunt their favorite prey: squid and deep-sea fish, and crustaceans. Did you know they can release “ink” from their butts to confuse predators?! Find out more about these elusive whales in this new post. A pygmy sperm whale chasing a squid in the deep…

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Live stranding! How you can help beached whales and dolphins

Stranding events (also known as beaching) involving cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) have been documented since the 4th century. Originally, people considered stranded cetaceans a gift from the gods, providing food and other resources. However, today’s society has mostly shifted its vision of strandings to animals in need of human help. Most stranding events will involve single animals, but mass strandings involving up to hundreds of animals can occur in some locations. These large mass…

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Humpback whale males escort females giving birth, but it can get chaotic

As if giving birth was not hard enough, when you are trying to push a 1.5-tons baby out of your womb, having to deal with hormone-triggered males adds another level of stress to a humpback whale in labor. Indeed, a new study published this September detailed six previously un-published humpback whale birth events. In most cases, the humpback mom was surrounded by other “escorts,” aka. other adult whales keeping close to her at all times.…

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Dorudon, an ancient whale – October 2021

We like to focus on a fossil whale every October since we are close to Halloween. This month we look back at the cetacean evolutionary tree and talk about the Dorudon (Dorudon atrox). This primitive cetacean swam the ancient Eocene oceans of what is now Egypt and the United States, along with the Basilosaurus. Just for reference, the Eocene corresponds to about 40 to 34 million years ago! So let’s find out more about Dorudon…

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Pregnancy planning 101: lessons from seals’ embryonic diapause

For humans, pregnancy is generally predictable: boy meets girl, *you know what happens*, an embryo is implanted, and nine months later, a baby is born. In the seal world, things are a bit different. Seal boy meets seal girl, they do their business, but an embryo does not always immediately get implanted. By pausing their pregancy, seals can time the birth of their offspring to match with ideal environmental conditions. Find out how such “embryonic…

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