Friday, 9 March 2012

Antarctic Blue Whale Set to Make Big Comeback

After commercial whalers decimated their population during the 20th century, the Antarctic blue whale may be on the verge of a comeback. The first genetic analysis of the whales has found a surprisingly high level of diversity in the population.

"Fewer than 400 Antarctic blue whales were thought to have survived when this population was protected from commercial hunting in 1966," Angela Sremba, who performed the research as part of her master's degree at Oregon State University, said in a statement.

"The exploitation period, though intense, was brief in terms of years, so the whales' long life span and overlapping generations may have helped retain the diversity," Sremba said. "Some of the Antarctic blue whales that survived the genetic bottleneck may still be alive today."

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