The Blue whale skeleton is on exhibit all around the world to help people comprehend their sheer size. Researchers are always on the lookout for whole blue whale skeletons.
The Natural History Museum in London paid £250 for the 221 bones of a 4.5-ton blue whale skeleton, complete with its baleen plates after the flesh and blubber had been removed.
In 1934, the museum unveiled its Mammal Hall, where the blue whale skeleton measured 25.2 metres (83 feet) in length and was displayed atop a plaster replica of the same size.
In this article, we have listed the top 5 notable blue whale skeleton facts you must know!
What Does a Blue Whale Look Like?
The blue whale is a long, lean cetacean with a broad, U-shaped head, long, narrow flippers, a short, sickle-shaped dorsal fin near the tail, and a thick tail stock at the base of its wide, thin flukes.
There are 70–395 individual, black baleen plates that line the upper jaw. During feeding, the skin in the throat area can expand thanks to the 60-88 grooves found there.
It includes two blowholes that can shoot water between 30 and 40 feet into the air. Underwater, the skin’s uneven greyish-blue hue gives it a distinctly blue appearance.
Different individuals have distinctive mottling patterns close to the dorsal fin. Their traditionally dubbed “sulphur bottom” refers to the lighter colouring and often yellowish appearance of the underside caused by diatoms in the water.
About 3 metres (9.8 feet) long and 12 inches (30 centimetres) wide, the male blue whale’s penis is the longest in the animal kingdom.
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What is the Average Size of the Blue Whale?
The blue whale has the distinction of being the largest animal ever recorded. Perucetus, an extinct whale species, has been estimated to have weighed as much as 180 tonnes, making it heavier than the blue whale.
However, these estimates are based on incomplete fossils and are subject to revision because Perucetus was only recently described.
In the same vein, other studies estimate that large sauropods like Bruhathkayosaurus (mean weight: 110-170 tonnes) and Maraapunisaurus (mean weight: 80-120 tonnes) would have easily rivalled the blue whale on land, with the former even exceeding the blue whale based on its most liberal estimates (240 tonnes).
There are 88 individuals recorded as being longer than 30 metres (98 feet) in the International Whaling Commission (IWC) whaling database, with the longest measuring 33 metres (108 feet), although issues with the measurements make it seem that anything longer than 30.5 metres (100 feet) is questionable.
The Discovery Committee claimed they saw blue whales as long as 31 metres (102 feet), however, the longest blue whale ever measured was only 30 metres (98 feet) from the tip of the rostrum to the notch in the tail.
Male blue whales tend to be smaller than females. Because of metabolic and energy limits, hydrodynamic models estimate a blue whale could not grow to be longer than 108 feet (33 metres).
Female blue whales that have reached sexual maturity often measure:
- Eastern North Pacific blue whales average a length of 22.0 metres (72.1 ft).
- Central and western North Pacific blue whales reach a maximum length of 24 metres (79 feet).
- North Atlantic blue whales can grow to a length of 21-24 metres (68-78 ft).
- Antarctic blue whales range in size from 25.4 to 26.3 metres (83.4 to 86.3 ft).
- The typical length for a Chilean blue whale is 23.5 m (77.1 ft).
- Small blue whales can grow to a length of 21.3 metres (69.9 ft).
Northern Hemisphere men often tip the scales at 100 metric tonnes (220,000 lb), while women tip the scales at 112 metric tonnes (247,000 lb).
The average weight of a male blue whale in the Eastern North Pacific is 88.5 tonnes (195,000 lb) while a female is 100 tonnes (220,000 lb).
The average weight of a male Antarctic is 112 tonnes (247,000 lb), while a female weighs 130 tonnes (290,000 lb).
Male pygmy blue whales weigh between 83.5 and 99 tonnes (184,000 and 218,000 pounds). The heart of a stranded North Atlantic blue whale weighed in at an unprecedented 180 kilogrammes (400 pounds).
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What are the Top 5 Blue Whale Skeleton Facts?
1. Blue Whales Have the Largest Animal Bones On Earth:
The mandibles of blue whales are home to the longest-known animal bones. Each side of a whale has one of these mandibles serving as its bottom jaw.
These mandibles are separated at the very end of the mouth. This allows them to drink huge sips of water without spilling a drop.
The blue whale’s ancestors did this to take down enormous prey, while modern blue whales just gulp to allow their non-bone specialised “teeth” to sift food.
Baleen is the name for such teeth. Keratin filters are what allow these animals to live off of the microscopic krill they eat.
Blue whales couldn’t consume the massive amount of food they require to stay alive without the mobility of the mandible bones in their jaws.
2. Blue Whales Collapse Their Ribs When Diving Deep:
When blue whales dive to great depths, the pressure inside their bodies fluctuates. Their ribs are a good example of one of these modifications.
When they dive, the pressure of the water causes their lungs to collapse. Their collapse is possible because their ribs are not fused to their spines, making them more flexible.
When blue whales dive to extreme depths, they do not use their lungs in any way because they are collapsed. Instead, they survive until they can emerge by drawing on the vast stores of blood and oxygen they’ve built up in their tissues.
The rib cage shields the internal organs from damage. This must take place to prevent the crushing of vital organs.
3. Blue Whales Have Both Cancellous and Compact Bones:
Whales are aquatic mammals that spend their entire lives in an environment with water buoyancy. They don’t have to have bones that are as dense to support their body weight.
Because their bones can’t hold their weight on land, whales that wash up on beaches frequently suffer from severe skeletal injuries.
Both cancellous and compact tissues can be found in the skeletons of blue whales. It’s easy to compare cancellous bone, which is similar to a sponge, to compact bone, which is more like what we picture when we hear the word “bone.”
Wherever pressure is applied, you’ll find a compact bone, which typically encases cancellous bone tissue.
The oily composition of cancellous bone serves as backup sustenance for the whale and aids in its ability to stay afloat during extended trips.
The cancellous tissue of whales that have been killed for their oil accounts for more than a third of the total.
4. The Blue Whale Skeleton Is Known To Create Life:
Evidence of life was found on a skeleton discovered in the Pacific Ocean’s deep waters. This is because bacteria thrive in the high lipid concentration seen in decaying bones.
Predators are attracted to the area because it is a magnet for bacteria-eating animals.
Benthic organisms are sometimes found in close proximity to whale skeletons in the deep sea. This explains why you’ll typically find them on the ocean floor.
Some examples of these organisms include crabs found in the deep water, sea anemones, molluscs, and tube worms.
Whale bones in California and elsewhere are being used as planters for moss. This is intriguing since it raises issues concerning the makeup of whale bones and their potential effects on ecosystem vegetation.
5. Blue Whales Have Earbones (With no Ears):
The blue whale’s superior hearing is due to the presence of bones in its skull close to its air sinuses. Because of the interaction of these sinus structures with fat, these bones are able to detect the slightest of vibrations.
Because of the efficiency of these bones, it is thought that blue whales can detect sounds from far away. Since sound is not picked up in the same way in the water as it does on land, these creatures lack an external ear.
Underwater, humans have trouble hearing since the slightest noise causes their entire skulls to shake. This prevents one from hearing in a specific direction and causes sounds to blend together. There is no such issue for blue whales.
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The blue whale, the largest mammal on the planet, eats only the tiniest creatures in the water. These whales dwarf virtually all known dinosaurs in size.
The Blue Whale is regarded as the world’s largest animal. From July to October, almost 2,000 Blue Whales make their way offshore in search of food.
Now that you know these top 5 notable facts about the blue whale skeleton, do well to share with your peers so they know too. Thank you for reading!