In November 2021, a team of researchers from the Woods Hole Ocean Science Center for Research and Exploration came across a remarkable piece of photographic documentation. They were on a research trip to the Pacific Ocean when they happened upon what they believe is the main source of killer whales in the Southern Oceans. Although the photographic documentation has not been verified, it is said to be the most striking photograph ever taken of a whale. They named it as the ‘killer whales eye’ and believe that it is proof of a huge colony of whales congregating at the tip of Argentina in the area known as the convergence zone.
There is no doubt that the photograph is incredible. With the assistance of a trained eye, there is no mistaking that this is a photograph of a large pod of killer whales. However, what makes the picture even more spectacular is the fact that it also shows the irrefutable proof of the existence of ‘evil eyes’ among these creatures. This photograph is said to have taken them by surprise, for they had never seen such large numbers of whales congregating in such close proximity before. Since there is no explanation as to why whales in this location gather together, experts believe that there must be some ‘evil eye’ behavior involved – and that these whales act out their own ‘writtens’ in order to defend themselves.
It was the work of a team of scientists who came up with the idea of studying the behavior of these whales in their natural environment. During their study, they came up with an interesting hypothesis – that the Killer Whales behave as if they are looking for ‘perks of the table’ by means of their ‘evil eye’. The hypothesis, if accepted, is meant to explain the abundance of fin whales that are seen along the coast of Patagonia in this part of the world. Their research was backed by the participation of the National Marine Fisheries Service, who conducted a scientific survey to discover just how many killer whales were present in the area.
The results of the survey did not disappoint the researchers – they found a very few sperm whales in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. This was rather unexpected, since it is very common for sperm whales to travel all the way up to Canada. In fact, it is common for pods of killer whales to cross the entire North Pacific basin, from Alaska down through the Bering Sea to the southern tip of South America. So it was quite expected that a pod of killer whales would find its way to the Gulf of Mexico – and surprisingly, they did! This means that the phenomenon of these whales congregating in close proximity to each other could have a genetic basis.
As mentioned earlier, there is a great deal of genetic evidence linking Killer whales with the presence of other types of whales in their natural environment. One example of genetic evidence is the colour of the dorsal fins of a male sperm whale. Like all other types of killer whales, they generally have black, brown or yellow markings on their dorsal fins. However, this type b killer whales eye colouring was very different from that observed in Humpback, or any of the other known subspecies. It was found to be bluish, rather than the dark greenish that is typical.
Another example of genetic evidence linking killer whales with the presence of other types of whale is seen in the way that their pectoral fins are arranged. The two main types of pectoral fins are spiny and flat. Although the shape of a male killer whale’s pectoral fins is similar to that of sperm whales, the configuration is completely different to that of sperm whales (which have broader pectoral flaps). So it stands to reason that the type c killer whales were probably not carrying this type of fin, as their counterparts did not have the same type of arrangement.