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Canada Earth Science

Orca Identified As 103 Years Old 194

guises (2423402) writes "The oldest known orca has recently been spotted off western Canada at an age of 103. A female nicknamed 'granny,' photos exist of her from the 1930s, where she can be identified by her distinctive saddle patch. The news has prompted calls for another evaluation of marine mammals in captivity — orcas in captivity usually don't live beyond their 20s."
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Orca Identified As 103 Years Old

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  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @03:03AM (#47006779) Journal

    "And get off my kelp!"

  • by Anonymous Coward

    typo in the dept name? that's pretty sloppy, even for slashdot...

  • by physicsphairy ( 720718 ) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @03:26AM (#47006833) Homepage

    We clearly need to capture this whale and study it.

    • by Jmc23 ( 2353706 )
      as long as the study is carefully constructed so that pretty much all of it can be eaten afterwards.

      Wouldn't want to offend our asian brothers! After all, everbody seems to be against carefully conducted whale studies.

    • More importantly, they could then claim that by having a 103 year old Orca living in captivity, the expected lifespan is much longer than 20 years!

  • on old whales (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nadaou ( 535365 ) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @03:32AM (#47006855) Homepage

    impressive, since the first thing we do is compare to ourselves as some sort of We're #1! thing.

    I always found this story of a 100 year old harpoon being found in the back of a modern whale to be a pretty wild reality check: []

    • by nadaou ( 535365 )

      And since we're talking about dead whales, oblig. explosives []

      And beaching, bro, []

    • Re:on old whales (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ruir ( 2709173 ) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @04:14AM (#47006991)
      I find it dangerous to be doing this assumptions. After all, artefacts are passed down by generations, even harpoons. So if I lost my military compass in a boat that I inherited from my father, and that must be now around 60 years old, and a whale eats it, the whale would be given an age of 60 years old?
  • by I am Jack's username ( 528712 ) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @06:59AM (#47007447)
    Don't worry, it's okay to enslave, break, torture, and slaughter creatures capable of feeling pain and suffering - as long as they're not from the same species as you. []
  • And I bet it was delicious.
  • Now I know where my manager spends her holidays....
  • In most cases, at least here in Canada, marine animals that are in captivity have usually been discovered to be injured, and either would have died if left to their own devices, or worse, spent the rest of their lives suffering. Full rehabilitation takes time, and of course, after being in captivity for any extended period, releasing the creature would also unfortunately be a certain death sentence... so in some ways, it might seem like they are damned if we do take them in, and damned if we don't.


    • The research that we get from animals in captivity is usually useless, frankly. It's like trying to understand human behaviour by going to a jail. Even insects and fish are affected by this; I keep species of snails in my tank that have never been bred in captivity.

      All you can learn from animals in captivity is how they behave in captivity.

      I understand that the handlers and the scientists TRY. They really do. But more often than not, they also quit and move on because they can't handle the conditions the an

    • yes, there is one more thing that needs to be said. here is a second bell curve, looks very much like your bell curve, but it isn't the same one.

  • You know, the ones where he and a bunch of other famous people apparently "traveled back in time"? Unless they have more than a saddle patch to go on (a distinctive harpoon mark or tail gash), this could just be a look-a-like for the Orca from 103 years ago, just like the Nicholas Cage look-a-like.
    • by Strider- ( 39683 )

      The saddle patch is accepted by the scientists in the field to be a unique identifier. No two whales have ever been found to have identical saddle patches, and there is enough variation to indicate they are unique. So is it possible? yes. Likely? No.

      Add to this the fact that the data from these old photos lines up with her offspring history, and it's a pretty solid case. In 1971, she was photographed with a male offspring who was already fully grown, so at least 20 years old. She was not seen with any

  • I hope that one day we'll be as concerned for the welfare of other human beings as we are for that of orca whales.

  • by xanthines-R-yummy ( 635710 ) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @11:50AM (#47009537) Homepage Journal

    As someone who used to work with research mice A LOT, I can tell you that captive mice (yes, the normal "wild-type" mice) are considered very old after 18 months, but in the wild they live around 4 years. My theory is that the real wild-type mice, ie the ones out in the field, get lots of excercise and have reduced caloric intake. The captive research mice have all the food and water they could ever want 24/7 and live in tiny boxes with no exercise wheel. Yes, the captive mice don't get diabetes or atherosclerosis, but they're still not living as long...

    Either that, or they're so inbred it makes GoT seem tame!

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell