She held her baby up for seventeen days for the world to see what’s happening,” Giles shared when asked about the ways that this story can be used to help us better understand killer whales. And, the knowledge of their organized hunting strategies observed in the wild can trigger an image of fear. These animals are equipped with a much larger lung system than Orca, which allows them to exchange more air with each breath, and have a higher tolerance for carbon dioxide. Every time J35 had to take a breath, she made a conscious decision to dive back down afterwards and retrieve the lifeless calf, putting her own health at a great risk. No matter how many times anyone, even your closest companion, tells you that “it’s going to be okay,” the deep sorrow felt may linger. The act of giving birth is no exception. That was the question Dr. Lori Marino posed – and then answered – at the Whale Museum on San Juan Island at the end of a recent week of town meetings around Washington State. As a neuroscientist whose specialty is the study of the brains of cetaceans (whales … The events that unfolded from July 28, 2018 to August 13, 2018 make it clear: killer whales have feelings too. To start, Orca have the second largest brain to body-size ratio in the animal kingdom. When not reading or writing, she spends her time playing outside with friends or inside with her cat, Sandy. To meet this need, they live in groups, or “pods.” These groupings are not unlike a family to us. So, if you apply that thinking to another species that can’t directly communicate, you then have to look at what you see and look at their physical biology in places like that brain, and relate that to our own experiences. The sight of their majestic dark bodies accented with white gliding through the water creates a air of mystery. When aboard one of our tours, we do our very best to provide you with plenty interesting information about the animals you are viewing, and help you interpret their behaviour. The killer whale or orca, also known as Orcinus orca, ... you then have to look at what you see and look at their physical biology in places like that brain, and relate that to our own experiences. When she’s not on the water researching orcas, she’s educating others about their biology and behavior, “There’s no real way to actually prove it, but their behavior, to anyone that’s looking, indicates that killer whales do have emotions.”. Ashleigh Papp is a science writer based in San Francisco, CA. Some whales and dolphins get around this by taking ‘naps’, where they are actually only half asleep. Some scientists believe that Orca have more than just a sense of self as an individual, but also as a social group. There really is nothing like the process of grieving — that “can’t eat, can’t sleep” feeling creeps in and long overstays its welcome. Other larger Cetaceans, such as Sperm Whales are able to hold their breath long enough to remain stationary underwater while sleeping. In fact, some of the hunting tactics, especially those that have made the news and YouTube channels, are thought to involve extensive practice and learning well before the film-worthy escapades. Dr. Deborah Giles, Science & Research Director for Wild Orca and killer whale biologist for the University Washington’s Center for Conservation Biology, has spent her entire life intrigued by killer whales. … along with all her relatives? Similar to wolf packs, the grouped nature of orca living means that collaborative hunting is possible. The town meetings were to explain the why’s and wherefore’s of a seaside sanctuary for captive orcas, along with possible locations in the San Juan Islands for the sanctuary (which we’ll outline in an upcoming post). In the case of the sperm whale, it has a lower encephalization ratio than many other species of whales and dolphins, …

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