Beaked whales are a relatively little known about family of species.they are known to be able to hold their breath for incredibly long periods of time, but a recent study has shown quite how incredible this was.
These animals tend to hold their breathes for around an hour underwater. This is obviously an impressive feat, but as they spend much of their time in deep in the ocean hunting squid it is an advantage. The squid can live 3 km down,so if you cannot stay down for a long time you spend most of your dive on the descent or ascent.
When a group of researchers timed their dives, what astonished them though, was that one of these animals held its breath for 3 hours and 42 minutes. Many dives lasted well beyond the point of which science suggests that these animals should run out of oxygen in their blood so they’re unsure as to how it works.
Is it thought that fear might also play a part in these whales long dives, as this species is susceptible to predation by both sharks and killer whales. While diving this deep they cannot be predicted, and this view might be enhanced by the fact that these whales on occasion will only spend 2 minutes at the surface before diving back into the depths.
As well as general research, there may be some advantage to human medicine by studying these whales. It is thought that a variety of illnesses including Covid and a range of cancers, could be cured by new form of treatment if we can work out how the whales cells deal with this lack of oxygen for such long periods of time..