The longest whale dive ever recorded

Scientists have recorded the longest ever dive by a whale. The whale was a Cuvier’s Beaked Whale (Ziphius cavirostris). 

The time of the longest whale dive ever recorded was 3 hours and 42 minutes holding its breath. It broke the previous record in 2016 of 2 hours and 43 minutes. The human record for holding their breath underwater is 24 minutes. The human is floating motionless, but the whale is moving.

Scientist Nicola Quick at the Duke University in North Carolina, America, said that the time has stunned biologists.

Biologists were using satellite tags to record the whale’s dive location and depth. In 2006, the biologists knew that the Cuvier’s Beaked Whale could dive underwater to depths of 1,000 metres and hold their breath for about one hour. Each year since 2006, the record has been deeper and longer. 

The current record whale dive of 3 hours and 42 minutes was not particularly deep. The record for the deepest dive is 2,992 metres. The current dive was not deep becaue the whale was looking for food. 

The Cuvier’s Beaked Whale weighs 2.5 tonnes (which is lighter than the 60 tonne Sperm Whale). With a weight of 2.5 tonnes, scientists estimated that the whale would run out of oxygen after just 33 minutes, before it needed to come to the surface to gulp more air. So, the record over 3 hours for the longest whale dive is impressive.

The research is published in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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