Most blue whales are ‘righties,’ except for this one move | Science News


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Most blue whales are ‘righties,’ except for this one move

The animals tend to roll to the left when feeding near the ocean’s surface

2:00pm, November 28, 2017
blue whale

ROLLING IN THE DEEP  Most blue whales roll to their right side when hunting in deep water. But in shallow zones, the animals roll left instead, a new study finds.

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Blue whales, it turns out, are a tad ambidextrous.

When hunting in deep water, the whales tend to be “right-handed,” lunging at krill while twisting 180 degrees or less onto their right side. But when gobbling up the tiny crustaceans near the surface, the whales tend to be lefties, launching themselves upward while performing a 360-degree barrel roll to the left, researchers report in the Nov. 20 Current Biology. Rolling to the left at the surface may help the whales better see food with their dominant right eye, the scientists say.

Many vertebrates tend to favor one side of the body over the other for certain tasks. This lateralization, or handedness, helps animals be more efficient at those jobs and has even been spotted in tiny crevice

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