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Animal behaviour

Whale dives into record books

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A Cuvier's beaked whale has set a new record for the deepest known dive by a mammal, reaching 2,992 metres.

Gregory Schorr at the Cascadia Research Collective in Olympia, Washington, and his colleagues attached satellite tags to eight Cuvier's beaked whales (Ziphius cavirostris) and collected more than 3,700 hours of data on the whales' movements off the California coast. One individual was in a dive for 137.5 minutes, nearly 18 minutes longer than the previous deep-diving record-holder, the southern elephant seal (Mirounga leonina). Another whale beat the seal's record depth by more than 600 metres.

This behaviour could be atypical, and might be a result of heavy naval sonar use in part of the study region, the authors say.

PLoS ONE 9, e92633 (2014)

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Whale dives into record books. Nature 508, 11 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1038/508011a

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