27 March 2014
Whale Sets Record For Deepest Diver
You might have thought the sperm whale might be the record holder, but in fact an unusual-looking beaked whale has been recorded at depths not seen before.
Researchers from Cascadia Research Collective in the United States recorded an individual Cuvier's beaked whale diving to a depth of almost 3km and staying there for 137 minutes, beating the former record holder - the southern elephant seal - by some margin.
So how can they dive to such depths? One of the reasons is that there is a dramatic reduction in air spaces in their bodies, air spaces that would crush a human at a fraction of the depth these whales can dive to.
They found that the whales preferred diving behaviour is for a single deep foraging dive followed by a series of shallow dives, whilst the time spent at the surface in between each dive can be very short - just a few minutes.
The whale was recorded in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California.