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SCIENTISTS CAPTURE WHALE 'FART' ON FILM

Whale flatulence stuns scientists
By Simon Benson
August 14, 2003


IT'S one of the unfortunate consequences of being a mammal - flatulence.


Pardon me ... a large bubble behind a whale in the icy waters of Antartica.


And, more unfortunately for a group of whale researchers, nature took its course right under their noses - literally.

The researchers claim this is the first photograph of a minke whale letting one go in the icy waters of Antarctica. It was taken from the bow of a research vessel.

"We got away from the bow of the ship very quickly ... it does stink," said Nick Gales, a research scientist from the Australian Antarctic Division.

However, the episode did not detract from their mission, which was to collect DNA from whale dung and attach satellite tracking devices in the first research of its kind to track where the creatures go and what and how much they eat.

Already some incredible stories about whales are emerging.

One pigmy blue whale wearing a satellite tracking tag was found to be returning to a former population off southern Australia which was thought to have been hunted to extinction by Russian whalers.

"Every piece of this research is surprising," said Dr Gales.

"Some is confirming what we thought. We know a lot about humpbacks, but we don't know anything about where they are going.

"Internationally there is a big push ... saying there are now too many whales eating too many fish and so we have to kill them.

"It's important that we determine what impact whales actually have on a fishery such as krill ... and how that fishery interacts with the whale."
 

SCIENTISTS CAPTURE WHALE 'FART' ON FILM






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