How long do they live? The oldest recorded age for a male Baird’s beaked whale was 84 years old [1,2]. These are rather elusive creatures and there’s not a lot of data collected about them.

Where are they found? In the deep waters of the North Pacific ocean [2]. See figure 1.

640px-cetacea_range_map_baird_27s_beaked_whale
Figure 1. Range of Baird’s beaked whales.

What do they eat? Baird’s beaked whales feed on many types of fish and deep water squid [2]. They have suction like grooves in their throat to suck in prey, which sounds like something out of a horror movie.

What do they look like? They look like an elongated dolphin to me, but I’m just beginning to learn about the amazing species of this world, so what the hell do I know? Baird’s beaked whales can reach 43 feet long and weigh 16 tons [2]. See figures 2 and 3.

bairds_beaked_whale_size-svg
Figure 2. Baird’s beaked whale versus human. There’s a bit of a size difference.
berardius_bairdii
Figure 3. See what I mean? They look like elongated dolphins.

How do they reproduce? Baird’s beaked whales reach sexual maturity between 7 and 15 years of age, but very little data exists on how often they reproduce [2]. Similar to other whale species, they give birth to a live calf and the mother cares for her young.

How do scientists know how old they are? No websites that I found indicated exactly how age estimations were made, but generally researchers use ear wax plugs to make these estimations. There is some debate as to the accuracy of age estimation in this species [3].

So what are we lacking? This species has not been evaluated by the IUCN, meaning we have no idea if they are threatened or endangered. There is no data that I could find regarding reproductive senescence or aging patterns for this species. There is also no nuclear genome data uploaded to the NCBI website.

What do we have? An amazing diversity of species in the ocean that could be gone very soon if we don’t change our own habits. We also have the entire mitochondrial genome for  Berardius bairdii on the NCBI.

Please contact me if you know anything about this species that could help us understand how they achieve longevity.

  1. Mead, James G. (1984). “Survey of reproductive data for the beaked whales (Ziphiidae)” (PDF). Reports of the International Whaling Commission(Special Issue 6): 91–96. Accessed 10/19/2016
  2. Encyclopedia of life.org. Baird’s beaked whale.  http://eol.org/pages/7650/details#cite_note-12 Accessed 10/19/2016
  3. Subramanian, Annamalai, Shinsuke Tanabe, and Ryo Tatsukawa. “Estimating some biological parameters of Baird’s beaked whales using PCBs and DDE as tracers.” Marine pollution bulletin 19.6 (1988): 284-287.