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The Wild World of the Sperm Whale

“Is there any other being that bundles together so many extremes?” asks Hal Whitehead.

Whitehead is the world’s leading expert on sperm whales. A marine biologist from Dalhousie University in Canada, he spends months at a time at sea, watching these magnificent animals and studying their language and culture.

In an article in the Calgary Herald, Whitehead writes about a few of the superlatives that he’s discovered in studying these animals in the ocean:

“Sperm whales are the largest-toothed animals in the world, have the longest intestines, the biggest brains and the largest noses.

“Their dives may be the deepest and longest of any mammal.

“And even with their numbers drastically reduced by whaling, they still take as much food out of the ocean each year as all of mankind’s fisheries put together.

“They live in the deepest oceans, ranging from the equator to the edges of the ice caps. (The females live mostly in the tropics and the males, which are three times larger, at the poles.)

“Such is their impact on the planet that the iron in the feces of Antarctica’s sperm whales fertilizes enough phytoplankton to slow the impact of global warming.

“… and they have the most powerful sonar system in the world.”

Read the whole article here.