Cuvier’s Beaked Whale, Deepest-Diving Mammal Known to Man

by Owen James Burke


Scientists just tracked this 20-foot whale diving as deep as 1.8 miles, which is farther than any known mammal has ever gone on a single breath.

The Cuvier’s beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris) is found in most open ocean waters throughout the world, excluding the coldest arctic regions.

Researchers off San Clemente Island, California, tagged and tracked 4 Cuvier’s beaked whales whales over the period of three months, recording dives of not only 1.8 miles in depth, but also two hours and seventeen minutes in length.

Somehow, their trachea and lungs are able to collapse completely when diving, and expand again when surfacing.

Erin Falcone, a researcher and author of the study, which was published in the academic journal Plos One, said that at first, the team wasn’t sure whether or not the tags were working properly. However, she concludes that they were, adding, “In the area where our animals are, the bottom depth isn’t much deeper than 1.8 miles…In deeper water, they may go well beyond that.”


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