Blue whales might not have hands, but they can be right- or left-handed. A new study explored this possibility, and revealed the way they feed highlighted the fact they were right-handed. However, there is one situation when they express a different behavior, and they tend to go to the left instead of right.
Blue whales are right-handed
Blue whales feed on small crustaceans called krill. Since they are so big, they get the prey just by opening their mouths and plunging forward into water. This way, they get plenty of water in their mouths besides the krill, so they filter the food through long baleen plates.
A team of researchers decided to study the feeding techniques of the blue whales, and attached a series of cameras on the backs of 63 specimens living on the Californian coast. For a period of six years, they studied the movements and habits of the whales.
From time to time, they also roll on the left side
With the help of these cameras, researchers discovered that, whenever the blue whales plunged for krill, they rolled 90 degrees to the right. However, this didn’t always happen. Whenever they saw an appetizing group of krill swimming near the surface, they did 360-degree rolls, but not on the right side, but on the left.
As an explanation, researchers argued they must be doing so to keep their right eye towards the surface, so towards their prey. The right eye is connected to the opposite side of the brain, which controls routine or automatic actions. Also, the krill from the surface is surrounded by plenty of light, which requires the whales to see.
At bigger depths, the blue whales cannot see as well, so their priority is not to offer a good perspective to the right eye. As a result, they act as right-handed beings and roll on the right side. All the details on the study have been published in the journal Current Biology.
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