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Have you ever wondered why some whales have large heads? The pattern has always been that the toothed whales have large domed heads than baleen whales. Scientists never knew exactly why that was until now.
Apparently, larger noses and heads are important for echolocation in toothed whales. Echolocation is the use of sound waves to find prey, navigate, and more. A study at the Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies in Denmark sheds light onto the issue. Professor Peter Teglberg Madsen, an author of the study, had this to say, “Normally, organs tend to grow proportionally to the rest of the body, but as echolocating whales became larger, their sound generating structures started taking up more and more of the body.” Another author, Frants Havmand Jensen, had this to say, “This likely reflects an evolutionary pressure for long-range prey detection — it allowed larger whales to find prey further away, letting them hunt more efficiently in deep water. The pinnacle of this evolutionary push is the sperm whale, where the nose used to generate and focus sonar pulses can make up as much as one-third of the body of adult males.”
It is an interesting discovery that helps us understand the lives of whales better.
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