Thursday, January 31, 2008

Sperm whales -- sleep and fear

Scientists are thinking that seafaring mammals sleep with one side of the brain at a time. This has been observed in birds, and even hypothesized that they may sleep during flight. So, partial brain sleep is not entirely novel in the biological kindgdom.

As for the fear part, if you delve deep enough into the Discovery News article, you find this link with amazing footage taken by someone in a crow's nest of a research vessel off Northern Chile.

Apparently the ship was under sail power only, engines off, when they headed straight into a big pod of (possibly) sleeping Sperm Whales. At first, I couldn't see why the lady was so freaked out, but then I thought about it.... and watched the video again. They actually touch one of the whales and wake it up -- who knows how they'd act under those circumstances, and there are lots of them. Freaky, but way cool.

[photo credit in embedded article]

Enjoy your amazing cetacean brethren,



Bentley said...

Coming upon whales like that would be AMAZING. You often see them on the crossing from Vancouver Island to the Mainland (Orca, not Sperm whales) and they are always on the move. i couldn't imagine seeing them stationary like that.

Антон Рыбкин said...

Amazing! Close to Playa del Carmen you can find whales too.