Duke Marine Robotics scientists monitor two humpback whales in the Antarctic. (AP)

Duke Marine Robotics scientists monitor two humpback whales in the Antarctic. (AP)

A blue whale being tagged in eastern Pacific (AP)

A blue whale being tagged in eastern Pacific (AP)

Part of a baleen plate, which is what blue whales use to strain their food out of water (PD)

Part of a baleen plate, which is what blue whales use to strain their food out of water (PD)

Sperm whales are the largest species of whale that have teeth.

Sperm whales are the largest species of whale that have teeth.

Krill, which are what a blue whale eats, normally swim in schools and are swallowed in big gulps of water.

Krill, which are what a blue whale eats, normally swim in schools and are swallowed in big gulps of water.

A Whale-Sized Diet

Posted: March 2, 2020

Ever wonder what it’s like to chase a whale . . . and poke it with a stick? A group of spunky researchers found out. Their experiment showed them why some whale species get larger than others.

Researchers from the American Cetacean (marine mammal) Society chased down 300 whales. They used long poles and suction cups to attach sensors to the creatures.

It wasn’t easy. “You try to go out and put a tiny tag on the back of the biggest animal in the world,” says Terrie Williams of the University of California, Santa Cruz. The sensors showed the researchers each whale’s eating habits.

The study included 90 “filter-feeding” blue whales. All whales are big. But the blue whale is the biggest animal God made—even larger than the most ginormous known dinosaur. Blue whales grow to about 100 feet long. They weigh more than 200,000 pounds. They have no teeth. Instead, God gave them sieve-like filters called baleen plates.

The researchers kept track of toothed sperm whales too. Sperm whales are around half the size of blue whales. But they’re not small by any means. They’re the biggest whale species with teeth. They stretch about 40 feet long and weigh about 100,000 pounds.

Why are blue whales bigger? A blue whale opens its jaws as it swims along. Those jaws take in a huge amount of water. Then the whale closes its mouth. It pushes the water out through its baleen. Many tiny sea creatures stay behind in its maw. This eating method doesn’t take much energy. It’s better than delivery!

But dinnertime with toothed sperm whales is another story. These giants hunt and capture prey one at a time. They dive deep for squid, octopus, and other victims. The researchers think sperm whales can’t get as big as blue whales because they burn so many calories in the hunt.

There’s another reason for the differences: God in His wisdom chose their size. He designed their distinct ways of eating, just as He did for all creatures.

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the Earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know! — Job 38:4-5