Most Blue Whales are Right-Handed

This article is not at all about Blue Whale Challenge game but about a recent study on them. In a recent Swedish-American study, researchers came to know that blue whales mostly use their right side to catch food. This characteristic of such species is similar to right-hand dominance in humans.

But in certain circumstances, their right-handedness is shifted to the left side, especially when they have to come up from deep water. And also, when they have to keep a close eye on their prey form left side. The report published in Current Biology states that they do so simply because to catch as much food as they can.

A co-author James Herbert, Read of Stockholm University, Sweden stated that it is the first example of our knowledge where animals use specialized localized movements based on the context. Scientists researched on movement analysis of 63 blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) off the California coast. These humongous creatures are nearly as long as three school buses and weigh as much as 25 elephants. Scientists analyzed more than 2,800 feeding plunges and studied the turning, rolling and eating pattern of blue whales.

For blue whales, visual contact is not that important. They bend in deep water, and also when it is dark. But when water is between 10 to 100 feet, most prefer to veer left at a steep angle. By rolling to the left side, they maintain to focus on their prey. Because, in shallow water, prey is not much accessible. And so, they keep on rolling left side to find their food.

Lead author Ari Friedlaender, a cetacean expert with the Marine Mammal Institute at Oregon State University stated that these are the largest animals on the planet. And feeding is an extraordinarily costly behavior that takes time. So, being able to maximize the benefit of each feeding opportunity is crucial.

Researchers hope to study more whales and figure out if such left-handed patterns in other whales or species exist or not.

It is interesting to ask if you are right-handed like blue whales? 😉