Featured Image Credit: ANDREW SUTTON
By: Sarah Sharkey
Recently, a team of scientists tagged more than 5 dozen blue whales to track their movements. After collecting data on more than 2,800 rolls during feeding by the total 63 whales, the team discovered that most of the whales have a lateralization bias. This bias basically means that they are “right-finned” or “left finned.”
The discovery did not shock the group because most vertebrates do prefer their right side because the left side of the brain controls coordination and motor actions. Just like many vertebrates, humans also have this lateralization bias that is exhibited through our “handedness.”
There was one move that seems to be done “left-finned.” The barrel roll as the whale rises from the deep to approach a krill patch was almost always started with a left roll. Somehow, the left sided rotation must help whales to maximize their feeding because they would not choose to do this at random. Feeding is a costly and critical activity for the whales, so it must be done with maximum efficiency.
This exciting research had never been done on whales before, but it is interesting to know that they also prefer a hand, or fin, just like we land based ocean lovers!
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