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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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  • Re:Fuck seaworld (Score:5, Informative)

    by Cenan ( 1892902 ) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @03:59AM (#47006943)

    This is the one field where I would expect serious scientists to shut down everything if they have proof they're doing more harm than good.

    Not likely. Even if they were serious scientists, they're still working within the confines of an amusement park. They have bean counters to answer to, and to them the "science" derived from keeping the animals is a slight PR bonus, not their reason to exist.

  • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @04:13AM (#47006989) Homepage

    Whale watchers have carefully vetted systems to look for unique markings. In humpback whales, it is the underside of the flukes. If I get a decent picture of the ventral flukes on a local whale, I email to our local whale watching experts (with GPS coordinates). On grey whales it is the left side of the dorsal fluke and upper back for some odd reason.

    While nobody has actually proven the markings are unique, they seem to work pretty well for long term population studies. Easier than flipper prints.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15, 2014 @04:26AM (#47007043)
    Well, if you RTFA they mention that she has another identifier: a notch on her dorsal fin. Even if the saddle patch was not unique - and I'm better prepared to take the word of the experienced whale spotting captain on this than the skepticism of random internet guy - it seems very unlikely that another orca would have both identical markings and an identical notch in her dorsal fin.
  • Re:Fuck seaworld (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15, 2014 @04:45AM (#47007101)

    Dogs have co-evolved with humans for hundreds of years...
    Cats haven't been around as long, but cats are generally solitary to begin with so might do better with isolation.

    Dogs were first domesticated by humans something like 15,000 years ago. Cats were kept as pets by the Egyptians almost 4,000 years ago.

    So, um, your numbers are a bit off ;)

  • by Powercntrl ( 458442 ) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @05:35AM (#47007219)

    Here we go again, with the same idiotic line of thinking that brought us "Blackfish". I wonder if these people are trolling or just really this ignorant.

    Activist claim: Working with captive cetaceans endangers trainers.
    Reality: Cell tower technicians fall to their death [pbs.org] all the time (who knew LTE had to be paid for with blood?). Can we at least agree advancing our understanding of marine mammals and inspiring future generations to give a damn might be worth at least as much blood as being able to Tweet about Miley Cyrus twerking? Also, it's probably possible to be accidentally killed in just about any line of work [tvtropes.org].

    Activist claim: Captive cetaceans would have a better life if freed.
    Reality: Not even close. Over 300,000 whales, dolphins, and porpoises are killed each as a result of by-catch [panda.org]. Also, pollution [wikipedia.org].

    Activist claim: But think of the animals!
    Reality: Yes, think of the animals in the wild, you lazy sorry sack of shit. You know, like the ones in Africa being illegally poached [nationalgeographic.com]. Oh sure, you might have to travel to a place that's a bit rougher of a neighborhood than Orlando or San Diego to protest that and put yourself at risk of being shot, but think of the animals, amiright?

    Activist claim: Seaworld is just an evil profit driven empire, hell bent on the exploitation of animals.
    Reality: Humanity has already fucked things up pretty bad for animals in the wild (warning: graphic content) [youtube.com]. We're past the point of taking a "hands off" approach and hoping things just go back to being peachy keen for our fine feathered and flippered friends. Seaworld exists to educate, inspire and inform people that they need to care about these animals today, or the only place we'll see them tomorrow will be in photographs and videos. They also (unlike most of these armchair activists), actually get off their ass and help animals [seaworldparks.com].

  • Re:Fuck seaworld (Score:4, Informative)

    by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @07:31AM (#47007595)

    Don't be an asshole. The OP is right. Of course there are varying kinds of intelligence, but Orcas are near relations to dolphins, and both show higher intelligence than wolves or dogs in pretty much any measure.

  • Re:Fuck seaworld (Score:4, Informative)

    by jimbolauski ( 882977 ) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @08:44AM (#47007907) Journal

    I have guppy fish in a 30 gallon tank. They almost never live past 2 years in captivity. In nature however, guppies live 5 years or more.

    I would say that speaks more to your skill about taking care of fish then anything else. If I omit fry my fish live usually past the upper end of the age limit.

    The sea world tank in San Diego is 7 million gallons and has 10 wales, that's approximately 100,000 ft^3 per whale. Further the filtration on the tank runs 30,000 gallons per minute it takes approximately 3 hours to filter 7 million gallons. Water cleanliness is not the issue, the whales and dolphins are stressed from from loud noises of children and not being able to travel, they are fed obscene amounts of antacids to try to minimize the stomach ulcers.

Someday your prints will come. -- Kodak