With the cultural phenomenon of Shark Week fast approaching and the anterior hysteria over its occurrence reaching an all-time high, I would like to bring everyone’s attention to a wonderful event too often overshadowed during this time: Whale Week. Every year, the week prior to Discovery Channel’s Shark Week is Discovery Channel’s Whale Week. However, Whale Week often finds itself forgotten amidst the overwhelming precedent hype of Shark Week. This should not be the case. Really, there is no logical explanation for this neglect to be a reality. Whales are just as cool if not cooler than the sharks that everyone has become obsessively enamored with. If sharks are the aggro bullies of the sea, then whales are the gentle Samaritans. I’m perplexed as to why people have related more to these brutish monsters than to the kindly wha-…….Wait. Nope. Never mind. I get it.
Regardless, more people should be getting excited about Whale Week, and to help fuel the cetacean stoke, I’ve gathered here for you, the reader, some of the most fascinating facts about whales.
TRUE WHALE FACTS:
- Whales are actually a higher evolutionary stage of sharks. Long ago, a select group of sharks realized that violence was not the path to prosperity and rejected it in favor of peace. The modern whale is a descendent of these pacified sharks.
- Killer whales are whales that have spent too much time around sharks.
- Whales possess a natural insulation known as blubber. In the cold depths of the ocean where they reside, this allows whales to remain hot. Whereas the beauty of humans deteriorates with age, a whale is able to maintain its attractiveness and thus its ability to attract mates well into the latter stages of its life. This is essential as whales do not possess any sort of currency system through which unattractiveness may be offset in courtship.
- Beluga whales are the horses of the whales, and narwhals are the unicorns of the whales. Narwhals are mythical creatures that have never before been seen. However, their legend frequents whale lore. (if you want to know more about whale lore, I recommend reading D’aulaires’ Book of Whale Myths)
- As the horse whale, beluga whales are sometimes ridden by other whales as a novel acknowledgement to a time when riding belugas was actually the main mode of transportation.
- Nowadays, all whales travel in pods. Due to their pacific values and consequent lack of weapons, whales are incapable of defending themselves against predators. Thus, they use pods which are designed specifically for escaping. Scientists have been studying these escape pods for years for use in human vessels.
- Whales are the largest animals on the planet. Whales are so large that their sperm are whales. They’re called whale sperm whales or sperm whales for short. Whale sperm whales also have sperm called whale sperm whale sperm or sperm whale sperm.
- The characteristic somber cry that whales utter is indicative of the perpetual melancholy in which whales must painfully exist. Whales can live to be hundreds of years old. As a result, whales often live long enough to see all of their fellow friends and family die before them and are ridden with an unfathomable sorrow.
- The only thing stopping global warming from completely drying out the ocean is the massive influx of whale tears.
- Whale infants are known as calves because they are entirely leg. As they develop, a whale body grows out from this leg. At a certain point in development, the leg falls off and the whale body remains. The ocean floor is littered with adolescent whale legs.
- Toothed whales and baleen whales are actually the same. Toothed whales are actually just young whales while baleen whales are older whales. Unlike humans, when whales lose their baby teeth, new adult teeth do not grow back in their place. Instead, a filter called baleen emerges in the mouth. Adult whales use this baleen filter to keep their young from seeing inappropriate content. This development from toothed to baleen explains why dolphins, a toothed whale, are relatively small and blue whales, a baleen whale, are relatively large. The toothed dolphins have not yet reached adulthood, but the baleened blue whales have.
- It is said dolphins are one of the only animals that has sex for pleasure. This is evident by the whale’s possession of an orifice designed specifically for fellatio: the blowhole. The blowhole also performs a respiratory function. Blockage of this airway during coitus can lead to asphyxiation, a phenomenon that has made its way into popular human erotic literature. The title of the bestselling novel 50 Shades of Grey is actually a reference to the multiple hues of the Grey Whale, the animal from which the sex-choke originated.
- Humpback whales are named so because they’re the only animals whose genitals also serve as their spines. For intercourse, they must rub their backs together as a bear rubs its back against a tree. However, there are no trees in the ocean, so the whales must use each other. This form of spine sex is also an evolutionary development. Humpback whales are not only some of the biggest animals on the planet, but some of the most self-conscious animals as well. Humpbacks cannot stand to have their mate look at their girth during intercourse, so they must be back-to-back to prevent any potentially humiliating judging from occurring. There are no lights in the ocean to turn off, so this is how humpbacks whales have anatomically developed in order to compensate.
- Whales actually prefer land to water, but most can’t afford the high property prices instituted by man. Again, whales do not have their own monetary system. Although, some whales have decided to collect human currency in order to migrate ashore, scooping up stray dollars fallen out of tourists’ swim trunks, looting old shipwrecks, and even earning a paycheck by working in human aquariums. These whales save up all their lives so that when they finally do die, they can do so in the luxurious comfort of the warm sand. This is a process known as “beaching”.
Please tweet (@chrisdemeaner with #WhaleWeek) or respond in the comments below with your favorite whale fact, whale story, or whale opinion!