Blue Whales: Fact or Fallacy?

blue whales national geographic

Blue Whales: Fact or Fallacy?

“Blue” and “Whales” have been coined since the very first day the National Geographic Society and the United States Navy introduced the Blue Whale to sailors as a spectacle of the utmost beauty. It was an immediate sensation. The whale sighting was followed by an even more incredible account in the same journal two years later, in which the sailors reported that they had seen whales moving together as a flock! It was a most incredible sight, and many scientists have described the sights and sounds as resembling those of the Greenland sharks, except that these colossal creatures, with their sleek bodies and magnificent tails, are nearly as elusive as they are beautiful.

We cannot help but compare the sight of thousands of blue whales moving together as a flock to the opening of the Mississippi river, which is only eight hours away from our own coast. There has been much speculation on why these massive fish stayed so close to their country for so long. Some have suggested that it was due to a diet of hoki (a type of salmon), while others believe that these massive animals were forced to come close to land by ice, or that they were used as part of a breeding program for other species of marine life.

In recent years, we have also learned that these giants of the ocean keep close, and occasionally meet up with humpback whales, which range in size from twelve feet to thirty eight feet. These encounters can result in near-death experiences for the blue whales themselves, since they can suffer blunt trauma as their body is slammed into the water. It is not uncommon for whales to bleed extensively after being hit, and it is not uncommon for the injured whales to try to hang onto their blubber in an attempt to keep itself alive until it can be returned to the sea.

In a recent news broadcast on the Weather Channel, a fisherman from California was heard saying: “The Blue Whale, a record twenty seven feet long, off San Diego.” Then he continued, “She’s been hanging out, she’s about two hours old. You could say she’s a tourist.” Although the fisherman was able to take a picture of the enormous mammal, he had difficulty finding a decent definition of the animal, so his statement actually meant that the whale was hanging around for at least two hours ago.

In another news report, the wildlife expert who made the comment to the radio station stated, “I think the chances are very high that she is a blue whale.” This is technically true, as whales are, indeed, large, living things. However, whales are not birds and neither are they small living things. To call the whale an animal would be stretching the meaning of the word. A good example of this is when a child calls a frog, she really means it is a water plant.

Now then, you might say to me, “So what, she is a living thing?” And you’d be right. But it doesn’t matter what she is, because she is a whale and we know that whales are blue things. So when someone uses the term “blue whale” they are correct. What they shouldn’t be doing is using “a” word in order to define something which is not a word. That would be like saying, “A frog is a small, red thing.”