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Image: Peter Flood

Biden Administration Sinks Emergency Petition to Shield Right Whale Moms, Calves From Vessel Strikes

Image: Peter Flood For Immediate Release, January 20, 2023 WASHINGTON- The National Marine Fisheries Service...
A whale swims underwater while white text to the left of the whale says "AmazonSmile does make an impact to charities"

Amazon Announces End of AmazonSmile Program

Amazon announced on January 19th, 2023 that it is ending its AmazonSmile donation program by...

Automated cruelty – vending machines in Japan now dispense dead whale

In an effort to prop up the cruel and declining whaling industry in Japan, one...
An orca lies in the surf as people look at it.

Orca Found Dead on Florida Beach

Credit: Flagler County Sheriff's Office On January 11th, a 21-foot-long female orca died after stranding...

Scientists find answers to whale mysteries in err…earwax!

We still know relatively little about whales and dolphins, which is one good reason why we should be protecting them, but finding out more about their secret lives sometimes comes from the strangest source.

Old samples of earwax from whales held for decades at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History are now revealing huge amounts of interesting data about the watery world in which these creatures lived hundreds of years ago.

The samples, which have been gathering dust, are now being compared with those taken from dead whales that wash up on the shore to reveal a fascinating story about the state of the oceans back then compared with the present day. 

The old wax deposits, or earplugs, not only captured a history of the contaminants the whales had encountered throughout their lives, but also provide scientists with a log of hormonal changes and chemicals related to stress that could explain major life events like puberty, pregnancy and birth. The data could then help to determine age, gestation periods and birth-rates. 

Amazingly, in terms of accuracy, the wax earplugs provide the data to within six months and allow researchers compare and measure not only one whale’s exposure to pollutants throughout the creature’s lifetime, but also other whales in other oceans and other decades for comparative study. In turn, this gives us an insight into the oceans they swam in too.