Scientists Uncover Mystery Of Whales Growing In Large Sizes [VIDEO]By Mark Stevens Peterson, UniversityHerald Reporter
Scientists have recently uncovered the mystery of how whales grow in such large sizes in the oceans of Earth. The long debate about why some whales become the world's biggest animals have finally closed and the truth revealed to the world.
The Secret Of A Whale's Large Size Revealed
Evolutionary biologist Graham Slater said that the shift towards sizes of more than 10 meters in length was probably cropped up in baleen whales in two to three million years ago. It was also driven by changes in the distribution of their food in the ocean. During its evolutionary history, these large beasts have become giants for only a 10th of it all, The Guardian reported.
Slater and his team also revealed how they found out the secret behind the increase of size. They researched on the lengths of 63 extinct baleen whales. They estimated from the measurements of their fossilized skulls, as well as the lengths of the 13 living species.
To discover how the gigantism started, the researchers fed data of the lengths of each species on the baleen whale family tree to a series of computer models. They also added in the position of each species of that whale family.
Results Of The Research Revealed
After feeding a series of computers with the historical data from the baleen whale family, it gave results that reveal the start of its gigantism. It appeared independently in several branches of the family tree, which included the bowhead the right whales. They also found out that this was not just that the largest whales became bigger over time, but the smallest ones that are found today are actually bigger than the ones that are extinct already.
The results also revealed that although the baleen whales have been slowly changing sizes for 30 million years, there was a change that took place between 4.5 million years ago and a few hundred thousand years ago. This also rules out the possibility that the start of gigantism was caused by the evolution of bulk filter feeding or large predators. It also rules out the theory of its gigantism being caused by falling global ocean temperatures.
Fin Whale Carcass Recently Removed
In other whale news, a beached Felixstowe fin whale was recently removed from a beach of Suffolk coast. It was one of the three whales that reported to have died on the East Anglian coast just recently. There is still a remaining cordon on a small part of the beach, which will be removed soon after cleaning processes, BBC reported.
Check out the Biggest Whales On The Planet 2014 video below: