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Orcas are more than one species, gene study shows

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posted on Apr, 23 2010 @ 10:01 PM

I just read something which I thought to be really surprising.

Orcas / Killer whales ( Orcinas Orca ), are one of natures biggest predators. They also posses a remarkable kind and curious character and their intelligence can be compaired with human intelligence... Ohh... sometimes they also just kill.

"I have no way of knowing what the whale had in mind," Richard Ellis, a marine conservationist at the American Museum of Natural History, told The Associated Press. "But I can tell you that killer whales, because they're supposed to be so intelligent, don't do things accidentally. This was not an insane, uncontrollable act. This was premeditated. And the whale, for whatever whale reasons, did this intentionally."
Dolphins have so much brain power that they're thought to rival humans in intelligence. One measure is known as the encephalization quotient, or EQ, which quantifies the size of a species' brain compared with what would be expected based on body size alone.

At last weekend's annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Emory University neuroscientist Lori Marino noted that our EQ is about 7, while the EQ for chimpanzees and other great apes is a little more than 2.

And dolphins? Species in the dolphin family have EQs ranging from 4 and 5. "This means their brains are significantly larger in relative size than all other animals and second only to modern humans," Marino said.

Inside the mind of a 'killer whale'

Social structure
Killer whales are noted for their richly complex societies. Only elephants and higher primates, such as humans, live in comparably complex social structures. Resident killer whales in the eastern North Pacific have a particularly complex and stable social grouping system. Unlike any other mammal species whose social structure is known, resident killer whales live with their mothers for their entire lives. Therefore, killer whale societies are based on matrilines consisting of the matriarch and her descendants who form part of the line, as do their descendants. The average size of a matriline is 5.5 animals.

They belong to the dolphin family and first appeared on stage about 11 million years ago.

I can't leave you without some pictures of them.
Behold a Killer whale.

I personally think they are the most beautyful animals alive today.
I could be a bit influenced after watching Free Willy of course.

The Orca can be found in every sea on Earth. From the antartic all the way up to the artic. ( With the exception of the black sea. )

They live in close groups and are very social to each other and even other species. Which makes it possible for us to train them and show them in places like sea world.

There are three sub groups of orcas.

•Type A looks like a "typical" killer whale, a large, black and white form with a medium-sized white eye patch, living in open water and feeding mostly on minke whales.
•Type B is smaller than Type A. It has a large white eye patch. Most of the dark parts of its body are medium gray instead of black, although it has a dark gray patch called a "dorsal cape"stretching back from its forehead to just behind its dorsal fin. The white areas are stained slightly yellow. It feeds mostly on seals.
•Type C is the smallest type and lives in larger groups than any other type. Its eye patch is distinctively slanted forwards, rather than parallel to the body axis. Like Type B, it is primarily white and medium gray, with a dark gray dorsal cape and yellow-tinged patches. Its only observed prey is the Antarctic Cod.

Orcas hunting a seal with waves.

Orcas vs. Seal. ( happy ending )

Amazing ending. Don't you think.

There are even orcas that simply eat sharks. The great white one !

The surprise
Orcas are more than one species, gene study shows
It seems the different types of killer whales are in fact a species on their own.
Do to a recentley developed techniqe called high-throughput DNA sequencing. ( Which I have posted before in This thread
they were able to sequence their mitochondria.

His team sequenced the DNA from the whales' mitochondria, a part of the cell that holds just a portion of the DNA. Mitochondrial DNA is passed down with very few changes from mother to offspring.

Visit This article to read the entire story.

I never even would have consider the idea that the Killer whale were in fact sepparate species all together.
I also new they were smart but this smart ???

Well... This article gave me the change to let others learn someting more on my favourite animal. I hope it's appreciated.

Enjoy !

Three forms of killer whales (Orcinus orca) in Antarctic waters

Wiki link.

Orcas are more than one species, gene study shows

Killer Whale (Orca) Orcinus Orca

Interpreting Orca Intelligence

Orcas' intelligence underestimated

Great White Shark vs Killer Whale (Orca)

posted on Apr, 23 2010 @ 11:10 PM
i`d love to see one in real life not in a tank i mean. even more so if it was hunting at the time thay are one of the most spectacular animals we have left. well actually 3 of

S&F for effort put in to this post good info i wonder how many other animals thay can find with this new tech and if thay have tried people yet

posted on Apr, 23 2010 @ 11:19 PM
Very nicely done, love the info and the pictures. Whales are fascinating creatures, their size, and strength is awesome yet they are still vulnerable to man, in that some are still hunted for blubber and/or food. No wonder every now and then one of them chows down on a human.

posted on Apr, 24 2010 @ 01:12 PM

Originally posted by Aceofclubs
i`d love to see one in real life not in a tank i mean. even more so if it was hunting at the time thay are one of the most spectacular animals we have left. well actually 3 of

S&F for effort put in to this post good info i wonder how many other animals thay can find with this new tech and if they have tried people yet

I don't know where you live but I know that you can go see them in Australia and New Zealand and go whale spotting.

I know of a story where there is told about a human / Orca cooperation.
The killer whales joined in the hunt of fish.

The whales rounded them up and man only had to get his nets in.
In return the killer whale got there share of the hunt.

The story took place in a bay of Australia or Tasmania.
I can't find. If I do I'll post it.

The North Atlantic whale is endangered and I hope they will find a way for it's survival. They would be a great loss. Especially now they're a separate species.

Thank you.

[edit on 4/24/2010 by Sinter Klaas]

posted on Apr, 24 2010 @ 01:14 PM
reply to post by space cadet

I agree.

They should be in left alone and in peace.
Unfortunately we don't even are able to do this to our own species.

Thank you.

posted on Apr, 24 2010 @ 02:33 PM
reply to post by Sinter Klaas

Great Job btw, I learned quite abit about these awesome animals. I am glad I don't have to swim the ocean and worry about these things!

posted on Apr, 24 2010 @ 02:45 PM
reply to post by Sinter Klaas

I don't know why the killer whales would need human's help catching fish.

There is something called the law of the tongue. Orcass used to help whalers catch bigger whales like blue whales and humpback whales. The orcas would lead whaling vessels to the whale. The whaling vessels would harpoon the whale. The orcas would eat the tongue of the whale and leave the rest of the carcass for the whalers.

posted on Apr, 24 2010 @ 02:54 PM
reply to post by hotpinkurinalmint

They didn't. That was the beauty of it. They just worked together.
There was a point in time when they somehow started working together.

But I don't remember the story very well. It could be that it's explained in it.
I can't find

posted on Apr, 24 2010 @ 02:57 PM
reply to post by theability

Thank you.

After I learned how curious and friendly they are towards humans. I didn't understand.

But they are just picky regarding their food.


posted on Sep, 18 2013 @ 01:01 PM
The North-Atlantic killer whale population, may split into 2 species in the near future.

North Atlantic Killer Whales May Be Branching Into Two Species

So we are likely to end up with as much as 5 sub species of killer whale in the Earths oceans.

The original thread, holds older information, that are only talking about the Antarctic killer whale populations.

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