be careful where you clique
Though Michael Wandelmaier’s woolly whales are long gone, the Right Whale is still holding on… just barely. It was dubbed “right” because it was the right type to kill, i.e. it floated when jabbed. Moby Dick was a Right whale. These mammals of the sea live to be 60+ years and their communities are run by old, post-menopausal females, esteemed for their sharp memories and watchful eyes. Yet these communities are growing smaller and smaller as local ecosystems are increasingly erased.
When I say communities, what I really mean is culture. Whale culture. Certain pods, within the same species, have habits, tendencies and rituals that are unique to the pod. Skill sets are passed down with nurturing. Whales are a lot more like us than we let on. For instance, some pods have childcare options and some don’t. Some groups sing for certain festivities where others won’t. Some pods are friendly to mama’s boys.
NOTE- Right whales have the largest testicles in the animal kingdom: each weighing a little over one ton (500 kg).
Size matters. When these whales mate, they mate en masse (a whale orgy). As females take on more than one sperm type at a time, it’s the sperm not the whales that have to compete. Those males with the largest semen production, therefore have the greater chance of winning the egg. Dr. Elin Kelsey has just written a book entitled, Watching Giants: The Secret Life of Whales in which she delves into enlightening whale details that we’ve been always wanted to know but were afraid to ask.
With the technology of underwater tracking doodads and satellite gadgetry, we now stand on the brink of truly realizing the wisdom of nature. Even today news of test tube sperm is breaking through the headlines. Of course, this very same march of “progress” is about to obliterate it all too. We need to “smart” better.