Elusive Whales Set New Record for Depth and Length of Dives Among Mammals

A new study of elusive Cuvier’s beaked whales shows they can dive to nearly 10,000 ft (3,000 m).

by Jane J. Lee

A new long-term study looking at the elusive Cuvier’s beaked whale reveals the deepest and longest dives ever seen among mammals.

The new records indicate behavior that is much more varied and extreme than scientists expected for this species, says Simone Baumann-Pickering, a marine mammal biologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California. One exceptional whale dove to 9,816 feet (2,992 meters), while a second stayed down for 138 minutes.

Scientists and the U.S. Navy are especially interested in these whales because sonar activity has stranded individuals on beaches in the Mediterranean Sea, the Canary Islands, and the Bahamas, says Greg Schorr, a research biologist with the Cascadia Research Collective in Olympia, Washington…

(read more: National Geo)

images: Photograph by Tui De Roy, Minden Pictures/Corbis, and infographic by NG staff

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