Saturday, February 12, 2011

Is that a humpback whale? The incredible picture of the crooked cetacean


In distress: The injured humpback was spotted off the coast of Kauai, Hawaii from an ultralight aircraft this week

Some whales can be up to 50 feet long, but it’s fair to say this one is probably a few feet shorter than average.

That’s because scientists reckon he is suffering from a bent spine giving new meaning to the ‘humpback’ whale.

Spotted off the coast of Hawaii’s Kauai Island on Monday, the humpback was first thought to have been hit by a boat, causing the incredible disfigurement.

But David Schofield, marine mammal response coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, dismissed the boat theory, suggested it was more likely to be scoliosis – or curvature of the spine.

He told a local newspaper: ‘They're not like cartoon animals.

‘They don't hold the shape of the contusion. Sometimes they'll have like a little imprint, but it's just not too plausible to see that if the animal had been impacted there that the peduncle or the tail shaft would've stayed that way.’

Scoliosis is rare but scientists say they have seen it in other marine mammals like dolphins.

Whale watchers have been unable to spot him for nearly five days, but let’s hope he can straighten himself out for his next camera appearance

source: dailymail

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