Friday, 4 August 2017

'Tail-Standing' Sperm Whales Snooze in Stunning Photo

By Mindy Weisberger, Senior Writer | July 24, 2017 06:12am ET

Sleeping dogs lie, but sleeping whales … "stand" on their tails? That was the scene recently glimpsed by a diver in the Caribbean, at least, when the photographer encountered a group of sperm whales napping together, all of them suspended tails-down in the water.

Photographer Franco Banfi was free diving — underwater diving without a breathing apparatus — on Jan. 28 off the coast of Dominica, an island in the Caribbean Sea between Martinique and Guadalupe, when he spied six still and silent sperm whales drifting in their upright postures at a depth of around 65 feet (20 meters).

Researchers first saw this unusual sleep behavior in sperm whales in 2008, describing it in a study published in January of that year in the journal Current Biology. The scientists in that study found that sperm whales dozed in this upright drifting posture for about 10 to 15 minutes at a time, and the whales did not breathe or move at all during their naps, the study authors reported. 

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