Whale of A Time!!
Widely acknowledged as one of the greatest books ever written (along with GWR, of course), Hermann
Melville’s epic Moby Dick was published today in 1851. This inspired us to seek out the following
records that have this extraordinary creature as their connection:
Fastest marine mammal
On 12 October 1958 a bull killer whale (Orcinus orca) an estimated 6.1-7.6 m (20-25 ft) long was timed at
55.5 km/h (34.5 mph) in the northeastern Pacific. Similar speeds have also been reported for Dall's porpoise (
Phocoenoides dalli) in short bursts.
The largest brain of any animal belongs to the sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus ) and weighs
approximately 9 kg (19 lb 13 oz), which is six times heavier than a human brain. Nevertheless, it only equals 0.02
per cent of the whale’s total body weight.
The world's largest fish is the rare plankton-feeding whale shark (Rhincodon typus), which is found in the
warmer areas of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. The largest scientifically recorded example was 12.65 m (41 ft 6 in) long, measured 7 m (23 ft) round the thickest part of the body and weighed an estimated 15-21 tonnes
(33,000-46,200 lb). It was captured off Baba Island, near Karachi, Pakistan on 11 November 1949.
The largest animal on earth is the blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus). Their average length is 80 ft (24 m)
and they can weight up to 352,000 lb (160 tonnes). A huge specimen caught in the Southern Ocean, Antarctica, on 20
March 1947 weighed 418,000 lb (190 tonnes) and measured 90 ft 6 in (27.6 m).
Slowest heartbeat in a mammal
The mammal which is presumed to have the slowest heartbeat of any warm-blooded animal is the blue whale (
Balaenoptera musculus), with between 4-8 beats per minute. This is dependent upon whether the whale is diving
The largest mouth in the world belongs to the Bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) and can measure 5
m (16 ft) long, 4 m (12 ft) high and 2.5 m (8 ft) wide. Its tongue weighs approximately one ton (900 kg).
14 November 2007