September 11 Open Thread

[Image description: In the foreground are four sperm whales, large and gray, sitting vertically in the ocean. Two others are in the background, one vertical and one horizontal. They are sleeping.]


Look At These Snoozing Whales of the Day: This is how sperm whales sleep, but Matt Kaplan at Nature has the story behind this incredible shot:

A team led by Luke Rendell at the University of St Andrews [was] monitoring calls and behavior in sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) off the northern Chile coast when they accidentally drifted into the middle of a pod of whales hanging vertically in the water, their noses poking out of the surface. At least two of the whales were facing the boat, but not a single animal responded.

It was actually pretty scary. The boat had drifted into the group with its engine off [while] I was below decks making acoustic recordings. Once I saw the situation I decided the best thing to do was to try and sail our way out of the group rather than turn the engine on and have them all react.

Anybody have anything unusual happen this week?

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