An incredible video shows the moment a mother gray whale lifts her calf from the water.
The whales were seen in the San Ignacio Lagoon, and they often approach tourist boats. According to One World One Ocean, which uploaded the clip, the whales seek “human interaction.”
While they could easily avoid the people, whose small boats are not allowed to closely approach whales, they actually seem to enjoy making contact,” it states.
The San Ignacio Lagoon is located on Mexico’s Baja California peninsula, and it serves as a destination for hundreds of gray whales who head there from the Arctic Ocean each year.
“Here, where the water is shallow and warm, they give birth to their young,” One World says.
Gray matter: Discoloration on its snout and back makes the gray whale stand out from the water like a crusty ocean rock….
According to National Geographic, gray whales are typically covered with parasites.
“The whale uses its snout to forage by dislodging tiny creatures from the seafloor. It then filters these morsels with its baleen—a comblike strainer of plates in the upper jaw. A piece of gray whale baleen, also called whalebone, is about 18 inches long and has a consistency much like a fingernail. Whalebone was once used to make ladies’ corsets and umbrella ribs,” according to National Geographic.
The whales, meanwhile, are protected by international law, and their numbers have grown.
“In 1994, the gray whale was removed from the United States endangered species list,” the National Geographic article says.
The WWF says the gray whale “a dorsal hump followed by nine to 13 bumps along their dorsal ridges” and can “produce a range of sounds including moans, rumbles and growls.”
“The most prevalent call is a series of knocking sounds. Gray whales were known by whalers as “devilfish” because they defended themselves and their calves so fiercely,” says the website.
Whales in the Baja California area (like the above video) are known for being “friendly,” the site says, adding that “they have an unusual tendency to approach whale-watching boats and even let whale-watchers touch them and scratch their tongues.”
Killer Whales Can Imitate Speech
Scientists have taught a killer whale to imitate human speech, in a new study released on Jan. 31.
Research published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, revealed that an orca was able to mimic words, including “hello,” “bye bye,” and “one-two.”
Scientists studied a 14-year-old killer whale named Wilkie who had previously been trained in another study to copy actions of other orcas.
The study also found that Wilkie was able to imitate unfamiliar sounds from other orcas, including the sound of blowing raspberries.
“We wanted to see how flexible a killer whale can be in copying sounds,” Josep Call, professor in evolutionary origins of mind at the University of St Andrews and a co-author of the study, told The Guardian.
“We thought what would be really convincing is to present them with something that is not in their repertoire—and in this case ‘hello’ [is] not what a killer whale would say,” Call said.
Wilkie’s sounds were analyzed first, by human judges, and then using computer analysis. Results showed that Wilkie made “recognizable copies” of the sounds, both human and orca, relatively quickly. In two instances, Wilkie was able to mimic the human sound on the first attempt.
The Epoch Times reporter Cathy He contributed to this report.