Gettin’ My Dork On

Yes, I am. But I’ll still take you in a fight.

While looking throughScience Blogs, I came across a wonderful site calledDeep Sea News. It combines my dorky love of biology with my dorky knowledge of being underwater. Woo.

Check it out. They have an interesting discussion on what’s happening to coral thanks to the decreased alkalinity of the world’s oceans (as the atmospheric carbon content increases, the oceans absorb some carbon dioxide, leading to more production of carbonic acid and a lower pH), submersible synopses, and this story on an recently-discovered (thus heretofore unknown)population of blue whales off of Chile.

Think about that for just a minute. The blue whale is, by far, the largest animal that has ever lived on earth (to the best of our knowledge so far, of course). The most massive sauropod doesn’t even come close. Similarly, the largest marine reptiles of the Mesozoic are still smaller than the blue whale. This cetacean can be over 100 feet long, and tip the scales at 200 tons. A blue whale’s tongue weighs as much as an elephant, and you could easily fit inside its aorta (if you were lying down, not standing). And we know stunningly little about these gargantuan creatures.  We don’t know where they breed, how long they live, what they do most of the time, or even the routes they take between the places we do know they occasionally congregate.

Blue whale and human diver, to scale.

The blue whale wasn’t even a protected species until 1966, at which time they had almost been eliminated by commercial whaling–there may have been fewer than 1000 blue whales left in the entire world. Humans being humans, we almost eliminated the single largest animal ever to inhabit this watery globe. 

To find an entire population of these giants is simply an astonishing event. 

It’s a marvelous world out there, folks. I know that we can lose sight of that when we get involved in our daily grinds, or when we think about the problems facing ourselves, our communities, our country, and our planet. But don’t lose sight of the beauty, and don’t forget to wonder.

I promise to return to your regularly scheduled snark soon.


6 thoughts on “Gettin’ My Dork On

  1. A whole new blue whale population? That is teh awesome!
    Thanks, Jude. I needed that.

  2. Since childhood the Blue Whales been my favorite animal. If I saw one it would be a life-changing moment.
    My brother saw one a few years ago in Baja California, I was very envious.

  3. when are they going to summon the mothership from their home galaxy to straighten our shit out? i mean i know they’ve been too wise and detached to get involved in terrestrial matters, but the destruction we’ve been causing to their habitat has got to at least irk them a little bit.
    if we really do have to die as a species – i only pray that these great ones of the deep survive us. the misanthrope in me feels at times prefers them to us. i would feel the same way about the african elephant, but those suckers can be mean sometimes.

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