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Groups of beaked whales dive into SILENCE at depths of around 1,500 feet to avoid killer whales

Groups of bill whales dive into SILENCE at depths of around 1,500 feet to avoid being eaten by killer whales

  • Bearded whales dive together up to 1,500 feet before vocalizing
  • They use deep water to look for food and then ascend slowly in a group
  • The reasons behind how this technique evolved in pico whales are a mystery
  • No other toothed whales that behave in this way have been observed

Bearded whales have developed a unique way to avoid being hunted by killer whales: they dive silently into groups at depths of around 1,500 feet (450 m).

This takes them out of the reach of predatory killer whales and allows them to achieve deep water safety, which reduces the chance of being captured and killed to less than 25 percent.

They then use vocalizations and echolocation to independently search for food before meeting at depths of 2,500 feet (750 m) and slowly climbing to the surface.

Experts say that this behavior has not been observed in other deep diving whales and that the reasons remain a mystery.

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Bearded whales have developed a unique way to avoid being hunted by killer whales: they dive into silent groups at depths of around 1,500 feet (450 m). This takes them out of the reach of predatory killer whales and allows them to achieve deep water safety.

Bearded whales have developed a unique way to avoid being hunted by killer whales: they dive into silent groups at depths of around 1,500 feet (450 m). This takes them out of the reach of predatory killer whales and allows them to achieve deep water safety.

The scientists analyzed data from 26 whales with beaks that carried sensors that tracked the depths to which they swam, the inclination of their dives and the sounds they made.

Researchers at the University of La Laguna in Spain noted that marine mammals remain silent in shallow water.

They wrote in their study, published today in the journal Scientific Reports: “ The biological data of 14 Blainville's and 12 Cuvier's beaked whales show that group members have extreme synchrony, superimposing vocal search time by 98 times. percent despite hunting individually, thus reducing the time group availability for acoustic detection by killer whales to <25 percent.

Experts say that this behavior has not been observed in other deep diving whales and that the reasons remain a mystery.

Experts say that this behavior has not been observed in other deep diving whales and that the reasons remain a mystery.

Experts say that this behavior has not been observed in other deep diving whales and that the reasons remain a mystery.

The scientists analyzed data from 26 whales with beaks that carried sensors that tracked the depths to which they swam, the inclination of their dives and the sounds they made.

The scientists analyzed data from 26 whales with beaks that carried sensors that tracked the depths to which they swam, the inclination of their dives and the sounds they made.

The scientists analyzed data from 26 whales with beaks that carried sensors that tracked the depths to which they swam, the inclination of their dives and the sounds they made.

They speculate that this is to avoid attracting the attention of predators, such as killer whales.

After successfully reaching the deep waters, the whales leave and hunt independently before gathering to ascend.

But their trip to the top takes a shallow path, as they climb slowly.

The researchers say that, on average, the return trip can see them emerge about 0.6 miles (one kilometer) from where they started.

But this ascension strategy, although cautious, has a cost for whales.

It may take more than an hour to complete and reduces the food search time by about 35 percent.

The researchers say the findings suggest that the risk of predation may have been a strong evolutionary force that drives the unique diving and vocal behavior of beaked whales.

WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT PICO WHALES?

Bearded whales are members of the Ziphiidae family, the second largest family of cetaceans, which includes whales, dolphins and porpoises.

Many of the 22 species of bill whales are among the least known or understood mammals in the world.

So rarely seen in nature that three new species of beaked whales have been discovered in the last two decades.

Living in deep waters, usually far from the coast, these creatures spend 92 percent of their time underwater.

Bearded whales break diving records, feeding at depths that can reach almost two miles deep (three kilometers) and last up to two hours.

True beak whales are members of the Ziphiidae family, the second largest family of cetaceans, which includes whales, dolphins and porpoises. Many of the 22 species of bill whales are among the least known or understood mammals in the world (stock)

True beak whales are members of the Ziphiidae family, the second largest family of cetaceans, which includes whales, dolphins and porpoises. Many of the 22 species of bill whales are among the least known or understood mammals in the world (stock)

True beak whales are members of the Ziphiidae family, the second largest family of cetaceans, which includes whales, dolphins and porpoises. Many of the 22 species of bill whales are among the least known or understood mammals in the world (stock)

After these exploits of diving, they rest, make shorter and shallow dives with brief surface intervals.

These behaviors, combined with the fact that they live in small groups, are generally not attracted to boats and do not perform aerobatics as much as dolphins, which means that whales with beaks are not easy to detect in the sea.

Many pico whales also share color patterns with other species of ziphiids, which makes it difficult to identify whales during sea encounters, when there is often only a brief glimpse of their bodies.

They are found in two geographically distinct areas, and these populations can soon be separated into two subspecies or even separate species.

Positive identification at sea is extremely difficult and in the northern reaches of the range it can be practically impossible without a clear view of the head (only of the males), to distinguish between a True Whale and a Gervais whale.

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