To support our nonprofit science journalism, please make a tax-deductible gift today. Whale sharks are the largest fish in the ocean—and one of the longest lived, a new study suggests. Sharks lack otoliths—bony structures in the skull that scientists use to estimate the age of most fish—which makes it tricky to estimate their age. So researchers measured the carbon isotope in the cartilaginous vertebrae of two whale sharks and correlated it to the carbon patterns created by Cold War—era bomb detonations , National Geographic reports. One of the whale sharks, a meter-long female that was found stranded in Pakistan in , was estimated to be 50 years old. The results, published 6 April in Frontiers in Marine Science , are important to understand the growth rate and longevity of whale sharks , which is key to conservation and management efforts of this endangered species, the team says. All rights Reserved. Pianissimo, please! Death Valley hits highest temperature since These conventional bricks can store power.
White Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) in the Western North Pacific
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EPBC Act Listing Status, Listed as Vulnerable (Date effective Jul) NSW: Humpback Whale Information Page (NSW Department of Environment.
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By Michael Le Page. It has long been suspected that whale sharks, the biggest fish in the sea, are long-lived, and now this has been confirmed using a carbon-dating technique. It turns out these animals can live for at least 50 years and probably far longer. But working out how long sharks and rays live is difficult.
Prohibiting vessels from approaching any killer whale within a Effectively protecting and recovering Southern Resident killer whales requires.
A newly discovered fossil whale represents a new species and an important step in the evolution of whale locomotion, according to a study published December 11, in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Philip Gingerich of the University of Michigan and colleagues. The fossil record of whale evolution tracks the transition from land-dwelling ancestors to ocean-dwelling cetaceans. Protocetids are a group of early whales known from the Eocene Epoch of Africa, Asia, and the Americas.
While modern whales are fully aquatic and use their tails to propel themselves through the water, most protocetids are thought to have been semi-aquatic and swam mainly with their limbs. In this study, Gingerich and colleagues describe a new genus and species of protocetid, Aegicetus gehennae. It is the youngest-known protocetid, dating to around 35 million years ago, and is known from one exceptionally complete skeleton and a partial second specimen, making it among the best-preserved ancient whales.
Compared with earlier whales, it has a more elongated body and tail, smaller back legs, and lacks a firm connection between the hind legs and the spinal column. These adaptations indicate an animal that was more fully aquatic and less of a foot-powered swimmer than its ancestors. The body shape of Aegicetus is similar to that of other ancient whales of its time, such as the famous Basilosaurus. These animals appear to be well-adapted for swimming through undulation of the mid-body and the tail, somewhat as crocodiles swim today.
The authors suggest that an undulatory swimming style might represent a transitional stage between the foot-powered swimming of early whales and the tail-powered swimming of modern whales. The authors add: “Early protocetid whales living 47 to 41 million years ago were foot-powered swimmers, and later basilosaurid and modern whales — starting about 37 million years ago — were tail-powered swimmers. The late protocetid Aegicetus was intermediate in time and form, and transitional functionally in having the larger and more powerful vertebral column of a tail-powered swimmer.
Nuclear bombs could reveal how old whale sharks really are
All rights reserved. Beautifully patterned with white spots and stripes, the foot-long whale shark is the largest—and one of the most striking—fish in the sea. Recent investigations into other shark species have revealed astounding life-spans: The Greenland shark, for example, can live nearly years , longer than any other vertebrate on Earth. Many more sharks, such as the great white, near the year mark. Measuring amounts of this element can tell scientists a shark’s age more accurately than the previous approach, counting tree-like growth rings on whale shark vertebrae.
Also known as killer whales, orcas are playful, intelligent and social animals. visit their website at for the most up-to-date information.
The gray whale now exists only in the North Pacific Ocean, but surprisingly the species was first described from subfossil remains discovered on European coasts. These data together with a similar range of dates for specimens from the western North Atlantic as well as limited historical records, support the view that the gray whale existed in the Atlantic Ocean until the 17th century. The populations on both sides of the North Atlantic apparently declined during a period of active coastal whaling, supporting the suggestion that it was extirpated by early whalers.
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Read this in Arabic. Published online 11 December Fossilised remains of a newly identified species of whale found in Egypt represent the evolutionary step from foot-powered to tail-powered swimming. Paleontologists Dan Paleczny, left, and Iyad Zalmout at the Aegicetus site in when the excavation was initiated. One of the fossils, a male, which would have been around 3.
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A whale of a tail
Canada is committed to the protection and recovery of the endangered North Atlantic right whales and takes its vessel speed restriction scheme in the Gulf of St. Lawrence very seriously. Three penalties have been issued and 19 cases are under review so far in the whale season. Although whaling is no longer a threat, human interactions continue to present the greatest danger to this species. Its habitat and migration routes along the East Coast of Canada and the US are located close to major ports and often overlap with shipping lanes.
Hence, in addition to fishing gear entanglements, collisions with vessels are now one of the main causes of premature death of right whales.
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From: Transport Canada. The Government of Canada is committed to taking action to support the survival and recovery of the Southern Resident killer whale, an endangered species that has cultural significance for Indigenous peoples and coastal communities in British Columbia B. The measures focus on the primary threats to Southern Resident killer whales: prey availability and accessibility, acoustic and physical disturbance, and contaminants. Measures include:.
Effectively protecting and recovering Southern Resident killer whales requires a long-term, collective effort led by the Government of Canada and other partners. The Minister of Transport will also renew the landmark agreement with the local whale watching and ecotourism industry who have committed to once again not offer or promote tours focused on Southern Resident killer whales.
I want to thank coastal communities, First Nations, the whale watching industry, and vessel operators for their ongoing collaboration and commitment to help the recovery of the Southern Resident killer whale. The Government of Canada looks forward to continuing this collaborative effort to protect and reduce threats for these iconic whales.
In , our government introduced the first set of measures to protect these important whales. Today, we are announcing measures that build on that work informed by the best researchers in this field. By safeguarding their main food source and providing them with more space to move and feed, we are helping ensure that this iconic species will thrive in our waters for years to come. Stronger controls on contaminants impacting these whales is part of the long-term and sustained effort to help these magnificent animals recover and thrive.
Baleen whales are the largest animals on Earth, a remarkable example of evolutionary adaptation and key ecosystem engineers. They owe their success to filter feeding, but when and how this strategy emerged remains a central question in marine mammal evolution. Baleen whales, or mysticetes, have an unusual way of feeding. Without teeth, they rely on baleen — a comb-like sieve made of the protein keratin — to filter vast quantities of small prey directly from seawater.
How and when whales evolved this filter feeding continues to be a mystery.
The oldest published reports of white killer whales date back to the early 20th century (e.g., Moran, ). A summary of published sightings of white killer.
The following information was supplied regarding data availability:. Morphometric measurements are in the tables and all specimens are clearly shown with scales in Figs. The isotopic and peptide data are shown in tables and Figures Fig. All data are archived and available at the laboratories that performed the analyses. The dentary fossil shown in Fig. No numeric data were used for that specimen.
The Atlantic gray whale Eschrichtius robustus presents an interesting case study of climate related dispersal and extinction. While limited fossil records confirm its presence in the Atlantic up until the 18th Century, its abundance and distribution within the Eastern and Western basins are still not well understood. The discovery of presumed gray whale fossil remains from the Georgia Bight and the Atlantic coast of Florida, from the mids to lates, provides a new opportunity to recover additional data regarding their chronology within the Western basin.
We additionally confirm the taxonomic identification of two fossil bone samples as E. The obtained dates, when combined with a larger corpus of previously published Atlantic gray whale fossil dates, support the hypothesis for the decline of the Atlantic gray whale in the late Pleistocene and the late Holocene. These new data augment the findings of the Eastern Atlantic Basin and better incorporate the Western Atlantic Basin into a pan-ocean understanding for the species.
The gray whale Eschrichtius robustus presents an interesting case study by which to study this type of climate-related dispersal and extinction. Based on fossil evidence, the gray whale was present in both the North Pacific and North Atlantic during the Late Pleistocene and early Holocene, and migration from the Pacific to the Atlantic is thought to have been strongly shaped by Pleistocene climate shifts affecting potential dispersal routes and benthic feeding habitats.
On alert for whales
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The site allows users to view information about large whales, such as location, within plus or minus 30 days (regardless of year) of the current sighting date.
DESIRING to establish a system of international regulation for the whale fisheries to ensure proper and effective conservation and development of whale stocks on the basis of the principles embodied in the provisions of the International Agreement for the Regulation of Whaling signed in London on 8 June , and the protocols to that Agreement signed in London on 24 June , and 26 November ; and. HAVING decided to conclude a convention to provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks and thus make possible the orderly development of the whaling industry;.
The Commission may from time to time make recommendations to any or all Contracting Governments on any matters which relate to whales or whaling and to the objectives and purposes of this Convention. The Contracting Governments shall ensure prompt transmission to the International Bureau of Whaling Statistics at Sandefjord in Norway, or to such other body as the Commission may designate, of notifications and statistical and other information required by this Convention in such form and manner as may be prescribed by the Commission.
Any Contracting Government may withdraw from this Convention on June thirtieth of any year by giving notice on or before January first of the same year to the depositary Government, which upon receipt of such a notice shall at once communicate it to the other Contracting Governments. Any other Contracting Government may, in like manner, within one month of the receipt of a copy of such a notice from the depositary Government, give notice of withdrawal, so that the Convention shall cease to be in force on June thirtieth of the same year with respect to the Government giving such notice of withdrawal.