Whales on Natural Geographic

Blue whale photographed by Flip Nicklen

Blue whale photographed by Flip Nicklen

Argh, I’m watching the National Geographic Whale Search and their research team is buying whale meat in the markets and finding the DNA of blue whales! What is Japan doing? No wonder blue whales are mysteriously “not recovering” their population numbers.

Interesting note: the investigative team can’t take samples from the whales across borders so they analyze the DNA and carry the information back. They re-synthesize the DNA, which is not a sample from an endangered species but is identical.

One whale they found in the meat market was a hybrid between a blue whale and a fin whale — I guess the blue whales are having trouble finding mates. They identified the individual whale and it was from the Atlantic ocean. The whale was killed along with 300 other whales killed by Iceland for “marine research” because it looked like a fin whale from the top. After the whale was killed and they turned it over they found that it was a hybrid. It was packaged and frozen and sold to Japan as a fin whale.

UPDATE: Biochemical Soul has a review, pictures, and more: “Kingdom of the Blue Whale.”

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