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Whales in Data

Karolina Gustavsson -

Karolina Gustavsson -

Whales are mystical in many cultures. The word cetacean (a term that describes all whales, dolphins and porpoises) comes from Greek, actually meaning "huge sea monster". In many Maori Tribes, whales are sacred since they are seen as descendants of the ocean god Tangaroa.


The concept of venture capital has historical roots in whaling. During the first expeditions to catch whales and collect the blubber and oil that would help fuel the industrial revolution, it was very difficult to predict success. This gave rise to a model more or less exactly the same as venture capital today, which divides the risk of investments.


The term "trophic cascade" was coined in ecology. Whales are at the top of the food chain. Counterintuitively, less whales mean less krill, because whales contribute to the trophic cascade by fertilizing the ocean with fecal plumes, which boost plankton growth and in turn krill populations.

82 194

Whales were caught and killed in 1964. After this peak, whale killings steadily declined until the late 80’s. During 2015, the number was 1 461.

20 bpm

A whale heart only beats about 20 times per minute. Over the course of their entire life however, whales’ and mice’ hearts (and most other mammals'!) beat roughly the same amount of times, about 1 billion times.

Cold killers

Killer whales are actually dolphins and not whales. There are a lot of theories for why this is the case, one of them being that it was a mistranslation and that they should actually be called whale killers instead. In lots of languages there are similar versions, the Swedish version for instance is "späckhuggare" which means blubber chopper.


There are lots of movies where whales make appearances, the first ones popping into your head might be Free Willy and Blackfish, but a perhaps unexpected example is Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. The premise is that the crew of the starship Enterprise have to travel back in time to collect extinct whales in order to save earth.

Publicerad: 2022-09-28

Ansvarig utgivare: Benjamin Javitz
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