Sperm whales have gained popularity over the years since Herman Melville’s Moby Dick back in 1851, which was actually inspired by a true story that happened in 1820. Well, now Moby Dick’s destroying ships stories are not so fictitious anymore.
A new study suggests that the sperm whales can, in theory, ram objects over twice their size without suffering any kind of damage on their heads. This study also stated that there is a section on sperm whale’s head called “junk” where the impact is absorbed significantly so they can’t be injured after ramming.
Dr. Olga Panagiotopoulou, one of the researchers from the University of Queensland, said that they have showed the connective tissue partitions along with the junk have the ability to absorb the impact stressed that could in any other way cause a bone fracture.
But it is possible that the sperm whale’s head has been especially designed for ramming without leaving them any kind of damage? It seems it’s a fact.
What’s in their head?
The head of a sperm whale consists in just one third of their body, which contains the biggest brain among marine creatures. But the most important part is the spermaceti organ that contains the so-called “sperm oil”. It consists in the case and the junk both being positioned on top of each other, having also the distinct functions in echolocation, where the sound bounces off across the surface for navigation – this is one of the first integrated GPS ever.
However, a 2002 study from the University of Utah, Salt Lake,published in “Journal of Experimental Biology”, reveals that not just the junk and the case protects the sperm whale from injuries after a ram. It seems that also the case that surrounds the spermaceti is made of an extremely tough and thick fibrous connective tissue which lies just below the tendinousmuscular layer.
Even when all of these are theories, this new study is just a new way for newer researchers to explain us this interesting yet protective behavior, where the information is well sustained on true evidence and where there is documented information about it. It’s more a fact than a theory.
Source: Gizmodo Australia