Why Orca Grandmas Matter

Author:
Publish date:
In 2016, a killer whale estimated to be at least 75 years old and possibly older than 100, catches and shares a salmon with a recently orphaned whale, presumed to be her granddaughter.

In 2016, a killer whale estimated to be at least 75 years old and possibly older than 100, catches and shares a salmon with a recently orphaned whale, presumed to be her granddaughter.

A new study suggests that by going into menopause, killer whale grandmothers end competition with their offspring and increase the survival chances of their grandcalves.

In humans this is called the “grandmother effect” and it is one hypothesis that may explain why humans can live so long. Turns out, this may also be the case with killer whales.

The study was published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and may explain why some whale species live for extended periods after their reproductive life ends.

Killer whales can live as long as humans and the study found evidence that orca grandmothers will help their grandcalves find food in lean times, making their role even more critical in conservation efforts.

You can read more about it in the New York Times.

Related

200421052216-01-prehistoric-crocodiles-intl-scli-exlarge-169

Ancient Killer Crocs in Whales’ Clothing

Researchers have learned that land-based Jurassic crocodiles evolved into efficient ocean predators by developing inner ears that mimicked those of whales and dolphins.

vittone0721

Why an Inflatable Lifejacket May Not Be Your Best Choice

Mario Vittone explains why he prefers a closed-cell foam lifejacket to an inflatable PFD and how it could increase your chances of survival

25114988-8037363-image-a-17_1582537404367

A Whale of a Picture

A photographer captures a breaching whale as it nearly crushes a catamaran off the coast of Hawaii

KEXR45_1800

Vacuuming the Sea

A Rhode Island nonprofit is installing skimmers in New England harbors to help deal with plastics pollution.

00Creamer1-superJumbo

Marvin Creamer, Who Sailed Around the World Without Instruments, Dies at 104

A trained geographer, he learned to navigate by observing the heavens and the conditions around him

type-d_jean-pierre-sylvestre_br-orcinus-orca-28112011-wsg-1340_custom-a9a420d708a3d5f78a882983d09b76d9aa14f454-s1600-c85

Scientists Discover Long-Lost Orca Subspecies

The blunt-headed killer whales with distinctively small white eye patches were last seen in a 1955 photograph. Scientists recently found a group of the marine mammals living in the Southern Ocean off Cape Horn, South America.

Killerwhales_jumping

Modern Day Moby Dicks

Killer whales have been aggressively attacking boats off the coast of Spain and Portugal, damaging some and leaving scientists baffled

IMG_3712_1800

The RIB Comes of Age

A ride offshore aboard a Ribcraft 9.0 shows how RIBs have evolved to become great all-purpose boats.