You can thank this critter for that sweet smelling Christian Dior perfume… the Sperm Whale.
Considered the largest predator on Earth, these critters can dive soooooo deep that some have been found tangled up in the transatlantic phone cables, more than a mile below the ocean’s surface. In the deepest and darkest parts of the ocean is where their prey of choice can be found; the giant and colossal squid. Using echolocation to locate prey, old time marines thought that the ‘clicking’ sound they heard was someone hammering a nail into wood. Their repetitive vocalization can be heard from 40 miles away; however, this is not what makes them blog worthy. These critters have one of the strongest family bonds. Whale pods consist mostly of generations of grandmothers, mothers and daughters. Females give birth to one calf every 3-6 years and will raise their young for 13 years. The pod is so closely knit that the calf will be left with the pod while the mother dives for food. If the calf gets hungry during this time he will nurse from another female within the group. If the mother were to die the pod would then raise the orphaned calf. Using this knowledge to their advantage, whalers knew that by harpooning the calf, all other whales in the group would come to its rescue, making this their ideal scenario. Sperm whales were mainly hunted for their ambergris and spermaceti (oil found in the whales head) which was used for cosmetics, candles and machine oil during the 18th and 20th century. It’s estimated that 800,000 whales were killed worldwide during this time. In 1973, Sperm whales became protected under the Endangered Species Act passed by Richard Nixon. They are currently considered vulnerable according to the ICUN, while it’s unlikely that their numbers will return to that of pre-whaling, one can only hope.
This is a neat site I found that shows Sperm whale vocalization!!!
Here’s an awesome video from PBS: Inside Natures giants of a Sperm whale that washed ashore… It’s AWESOME!!! http://video.pbs.org/video/2188105613