Mind-Boggling Blue Whale Footage Gives a Sense of How Massive They Really Are – The Inertia

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The Inertia

The blue whale is thought to be the largest animal that has ever lived on Earth. Of course, something could have been bigger in the distant past — there are plenty of creatures we’ll never know about — but it’s not likely.

Carlos Gauna, the man behind the always-interesting YouTube channel The Malibu Artist, generally is on the hunt for great white sharks in his footage. But it’s tough to fly a drone over the ocean as much as he does and not have your interest piqued by all the other weird and wonderful stuff swimming around down there, and in his most recent vlog, he found, among other things, a blue whale.

Blue whales are one of those things so big it’s hard to wrap your head around it. They can be upwards of 100 feet long and weigh over 200 tons. According to National Geographic, they have tongues that weigh as much as an elephant and hearts that weigh as much as a car.

Despite their size, they live mainly off of krill, which are the tiniest of creatures. Thankfully for the blue whale, they also are numerous enough to count as one of the species with the largest total biomass on the planet. Blue whales, as you’d imagine, require a LOT of food, and they can eat as much as four tons of krill in a single day.

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“Blue whales are baleen whales, which means they have fringed plates of fingernail-like material, called baleen, attached to their upper jaws,” Nat Geo explained. “The giant animals feed by first gulping an enormous mouthful of water, expanding the pleated skin on their throat and belly to take it in. Then the whale’s massive tongue forces the water out through the thin, overlapping baleen plates. Thousands of krill are left behind—and then swallowed.”

Underwater, blue whales do indeed appear blue. But out of the water, they’re more a bluish grey, with bellies that have an almost yellow coloring. Their long, flat heads and the placement of the eyes can make it difficult to tell what, exactly one is looking at, and the enormous size doesn’t help.

As for Gauna, he was left stunned by his up-close encounter with the blue whale. “Anyone who has witnessed a blue whale fluke,” he said, “may agree that it’s one of the ocean’s most incredible sights.”

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