Smile, Cuvier's beaked whale, you're going into the animal book of records.
Elephant seals are the champs when it comes to long and deep sea diving. But new research shows that a grinning whale could steal its thunder.
If there were a gold medal for cetacean diving, it undoubtedly would go to the Cuvier’s beaked whale.
Scientists sat they've tracked these medium-sized whales off the coast of California using satellite-linked tags as the creatures dove down nearly 3km, and spent 2 hours and 17 minutes underwater before resurfacing. Those are breath-taking accomplishments for an air-breathing creature. In fact, those figures represent both the deepest and the longest dives ever documented for any marine mammal, says Greg Schorr of the Cascadia Research Collective in Olympia, Washington, who led the study published in the journal PLOS ONE.
“Many creatures live at the depths these whales dive to, including their likely primary prey of squid and fish. However, there is a major difference between these whales and the other creatures living deep in the ocean – the fundamental requirement to breathe air at the surface,” Schorr says. “Taking a breath at the surface and holding it while diving to pressures over 250 times that at the surface is an astounding feat.” Schorr added.