This solitary dolphin learned to “speak porpoise” and made new friends

Dolphins are very social creatures. But what happens when they become isolated? Some solitary dolphins seek comfort around navigational buoys and sometimes approach other species like humans. But this one solitary short-beaked common dolphin called Kylie found a way to deal with isolation. This common dolphin hanging out in Scottish waters seems to “speak porpoise,” producing sounds similar to those of harbor porpoises and made some friends along the way. Kylie leaping out of the…

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Are humpback whales the nicest animals in the world?

Altruism: the belief in or practice of selfless concern for the well-being of others. Compassion: sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others. These two words are usually applied to humans and situations involving us. But one question stands: Could some animals like humpback whales have the ability to feel and express compassion and altruism? Scientists are still hesitant when it comes to using words like “compassion” with animals. Yet, growing evidence…

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Sirenians: manatees and dugongs – January 2021

This month, we will talk about the sirenians: manatees and dugongs. These slow and peaceful “herbivores”, also called sea cows, have elephants as their closest land relatives. In this post, we highlight some mostly unknown facts about the sirenian family and hope to raise awareness about the threats they face today. Credit: A Cotton Photo They are not strict vegans Their diet mainly consists of different types of seagrasses. Although almost entirely herbivorous, dugongs will…

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Whale Ho! A Potential New Whale Species?

As you may or may not have heard that there is a potentially new species of a beaked whale! Scientists just discovered this new species off Baja California. Here we explain how scientists discovered this possibly new species. We will also dive into how to determine if there is, in fact, a new species of whales. A potential individual of the new Species; photo taken by Sea Shepherd. Credit “Whale” in the World are These…

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Will whales be hunted for profit in the future?

Commercial whaling is a complicated topic. Almost everybody has a strong opinion about it, and discussions can get heated quickly. So let’s take a deep breath and try to keep the blood pressure low. Nowadays, three countries openly conduct commercial whaling: Japan, Norway, and Iceland. Indigenous people in various parts of the world, e.g., Alaska and Greenland, and locals in the Faroe Islands also hunt whales. However, this is part of their subsistence economy and…

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The Northern Bottlenose Whale – December 2020

We are wrapping this year with a lesser-known, but very well studied ziphiid, or beaked whale, the northern bottlenose whale (Hyperoodon ampullatus). The northern bottlenose whale is the largest member of the beaked family found in the North Atlantic Ocean. They have a bottle-shaped beak and a hooked dorsal fin, hence the “bottlenose” in their common name. They have bulbous melons, which are their most prominent attribute. In this post, we will explore these phenomenal…

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The Northern Bottlenose Whale – December 2020

We are wrapping this year with a lesser-known, but very well studied ziphiid, or beaked whale, the northern bottlenose whale (Hyperoodon ampullatus). The northern bottlenose whale is the largest member of the beaked family found in the North Atlantic Ocean. They have a bottle-shaped beak and a hooked dorsal fin, hence the “bottlenose” in their common name. They have bulbous melons, which are their most prominent attribute. In this post, we will explore these phenomenal…

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How are we protecting endangered cetaceans around the world?

The idea of conservation has grown in popularity since “save the whales” kicked off in the 1960s and 70s. Over the past 50 years, interest in environmentalist and conservation spaces has exploded along with the youth interest in climate change activism. This post will talk about the history of whale conservation and break down three policies used to protect endangered cetaceans domestically and abroad. A brief history of conservation Let’s briefly discuss the movement that…

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Whale Scientists Story: Leanne Rosser

Leanne Rosser is a 30-year-old British marine mammalogist currently studying the behavior of Pacific white-sided dolphins in Japan. Here is her story. From music to English literature I had a slightly longer journey than most. Throughout the majority of high school, I wanted to become a classical pianist. Music was my first love before dolphins came on the scene. I was determined to get into a music conservatoire, so I took a gap year and…

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3 steps to a better work-life balance

In first grade, I remember the look of shock when I told my friends that my mom was a teacher. They couldn’t imagine teachers ever leaving school. They thought teachers just lived in the classroom, and their sole purpose in life was to teach.  Similarly, I think people (both scientists and non-scientists) often believe that their science defines scientists.  I see several issues with this framework: 1) people generally have other interests than their scientific research.…

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