Sperm whales are ever so powerful and yet ever so gentile.
Sperm whales are amazing in so many ways. They are very powerful and feed at depths on squid that can be as large as they are. They are the largest animal with teeth, 7 inch long teeth, and they communicate with each other. Yet, they appear so docile, trusting and friendly around scuba divers.
They tend to live in pods of around 20 whales. Although, they tend to hang out in the first 50ft or so, they dive up to 10,000 ft below the surface in search of fish and Giant Squid.
Sperm whales are also extremely loud. They are known to be the loudest animal on the planet. Divers described their sounds to be flesh penetrating.
While normal human speech takes place between 60 and 65 decibels (dB), sperm whale clicks, described as such because we hear them as “tak-tak-tak”, can reach as high as 235dB. In contrast, a loud rock concert is around 115dB and the sound of a jet engine is roughly 140dB. Quite simply, sperm whales are the loudest animals on the planet.
Such is the power of their clicks that whales can comfortably transmit information to others from hundreds of miles away, and even across vast oceans. A sound of 180dB is enough to cause drastic cell death in your ears, but the most powerful sperm whale clicks will not merely deafen you: they can vibrate the fragile human body to pieces.
Divers also express a certain connection to these whales which is described as totally different than with other animals. What’s also interesting is that sperm whales have the largest brain of any living animal. In addition to this, their brain’s cortex has been found to contain spindel cells. These spindel cells are believed to allow for rapid communication within the brain in addition to the ability to process emotions, feel love, feel empathy and interact socially. So they have a lot going on between their eyes.
Read more about the experiences and discoveries of a group of sperm whale researchers in what’s called project DareWin in the following article here on bbc.com.
“They don’t swim away, and they don’t attack. They become curious. Often, they welcome us into their pods and send us communication clicks. They are, in essence, reaching out to us.” H/T The Long Now Foundation
"The whales will turn around and welcome you into the pod," author James Nestor describes how Sperm whale react to Free diving humans and shows footage & sound of these amazing creatures. Watch his full talk: theinterval.org/salon-talks/02014/oct/08/humanity-and-deep-ocean
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