Questions from the public
A selection of answers to your questions.
2019 / 05 / 16
Do whales suffer from sunburn?
Unlike other mammals, whales do not have hair to protect their skin. Even if they spend little time at the surface, can whales get sunburn? Mechanism of sunburn Sunburn is caused by ultraviolet (UV) r...
2019 / 05 / 03
Are whales’ bones adapted to their diving?
Several species of whales have traits that are well suited to their diving behaviour. For example, the relatively small size of their lungs relative to their body allows them to carry less air when th...
2019 / 04 / 12
What is a laryngeal sac?
The laryngeal sac is a structure found in baleen whales, but also in many other mammals, including primates (but not humans!). Lying between the mouth and the trachea, it is a cavity associated with t...
2019 / 03 / 15
A diver caught in a whale’s mouth?
While feeding at the surface, a Bryde’s whale accidentally snatched up a diver, who found himself, from the waist up, inside the whale’s mouth! At the time of the events, the diver was working...
2019 / 02 / 06
Do whales have baby teeth?
Humans have two generations of teeth: deciduous teeth (from the Latin “to fall”) – also called “baby teeth” – and permanent teeth. Known as diphyodontia, this phenomenon is...
2019 / 02 / 06
How do they determine the age of whales?
Estimating the age of marine mammals is more complex than one might think. Few reliable techniques exist to determine the age of whales, at least in the case of living specimens. Yet it is an essentia...
2019 / 01 / 23
Which whale species has the largest testicles?
North Atlantic right whales have the largest testicles in the animal kingdom. They can exceed 900 kg, which corresponds to about 2% of the animal’s total weight. Harbour porpoises have nothing to be...
2019 / 01 / 17
How do calves manage to follow their mothers?
After birth, a calf remains with its mother at a minimum for the duration of nursing, which varies from a few months to a few years, depending on the species. Since calves only drink breast milk early...
2018 / 12 / 17
Could We Use Facial Recognition for Whales?
Have you ever been asked if you would like to tag someone in your photo on Facebook? It is the ingenious artificial intelligence that detects faces on your photos. Could it be used to identify whales?...
2018 / 11 / 26
Why do cetaceans die?
Just like us, cetaceans (whales, porpoises, and dolphins) have a range of reasons that can lead to mortality. Because of this, when a dead whale washes ashore, finding the cause of death can often be ...