Ever fallen asleep standing up? Then you know what it's like to snooze like a sperm whale. This image, captured by photographer Magnus Lundgren for Wild Wonders of Europe , is actually a few years old, but it highlights an interesting bit of cetacean neuroscience that's definitely worth sharing, and explaining in greater detail. Until just a few years ago, it was thought that sperm whales, like other cetaceans, only allowed one side of their brain to rest at a time, "keeping one eye open," as it were, in order to do "important things that require physical activity, such as coming to the surface to breathe or avoid predators," explains Nature's Matt Kaplan.
You're Eye-to-Eye With a Whale in the Ocean—What Does It See?
The Freedivers Who Eavesdrop on Whales | Outside Online
Join our community, stories straight to your inbox. My first interaction with a sperm whale was when I was just two years old. A young whale had stranded on the beach near my home in Long Island, New York, and a group of veterinarians decided to bring this whale into a nearby boat basin to get a closer look at him and determine if they could help him. The young whale was nicknamed Physty, a play on both the scientific name of sperm whales, Physeter macrocephalus , and on his seemingly feisty personality. Physty was approximately 25 feet long and was probably somewhere between five and seven years old when he found himself gravely ill and in the shallow waters of coastal Long Island. He stranded twice before the rescue team brought him into the basin for a closer look. While the veterinarians and rescuers were standing vigil thinking at any moment this creature from the depths was going to die, the scientists were also trying to determine what was wrong with this whale and why he had left his family unit, or was left by his family unit, ending up on the beach.
All rights reserved. Discovery Channel viewers have been able to look into the eye of the giant squid, in the first ever footage of this elusive predator in its natural environment. The giant squid sees the world with eyes the size of soccer balls. For comparison, the largest fish eye is the 9-centimetre orb of the swordfish. Even the blue whale — the largest animal that has ever existed — has measly centimetre-wide eyes.
Why are whales special? They live their whole lives in water and have a lot of amazing qualities. Whales are mammals just like we are.