Featured Image Credit: Pacific Whale Foundation
By Sarah Sharkey
Whale watchers in Hawaii recently saw something extremely unexpected, a humpback whale placenta. The giant floating white mass was goopy and strange looking, but an important discovery for humpback whale biologists.
Scientists who study these amazing whales have assumed that humpback whales travel to the waters surrounding Hawaii to give birth to their calves, but the actual evidence of this assumption has been limited.
Back in 1994, another humpback whale placenta was found near Hawaii and confirmed through hormone analysis. In a study published on the discovery of that placenta, it was measured to be about 1.2 to 1.5 meters long and the submerged part was roughly 2.4 meters long. The attached umbilical cord was 5 centimeters wide and 1.3 meters long. That giant placenta was attached to a humpback whale at birth. The documentation of these placentae is strong evidence that the humpback whales do indeed give birth in the waters surrounding Hawaii.
According to the Pacific Whale Foundation other than seeing the birth of a humpback whale, “Humpback whale placenta would perhaps be the next best evidence of the birthing process taking place.”
An amazing discovery that helps to support the long-supported assumption that humpback whales have their calves in the warm and beautiful waters near Hawaii.
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