Nature & Environment
Very rare white humpback whale found washed up on beach
By T.K. Randall
July 25, 2022 · 4 comments
White whales are very rare. Image Credit: YouTube / Chris Jones
Experts have been attempting to determine what gave the unusual ocean-dwelling giant its distinct coloration.
Discovered by kayaker Peter Coles on a beach near Mallacoota in Victoria, Australia, the dead whale measures approximately 33 ft in length and is believed to be a juvenile female.
White whales are incredibly rare, meaning that any sightings of such a creature are noteworthy.
There had been concerns that this particular individual might be Migaloo - a famous white whale first sighted off the coast of Australia back in 1991 - however given its size and gender, it is highly unlikely that the newfound whale is the same animal.
While white coloration like this is usually down to a condition known as albinism, experts believe that this particular whale might have been afflicted with a different, though similar genetic condition known as leucism which impacts the production of melanin in individual cells.
As things stand, it remains unclear exactly how the whale died, however the most likely explanation is that it was struck by a boat.
"We were unable to see the upper side of the body, and if it has been hit by a ship, there'd probably be scarring and damage on the upper side of the body," said marine ecologist Wally Franklin.
Source: Live Science
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