DEC 17, 2017 8:20 PM PST

Killer Whales' Fins Sometimes Collapse, And Here's Why

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard


There's a lot of buzz on the internet about how captive killer whales' collapse, but the same phenomenon happens in wild killer whales too.

Researchers don't yet fully understand why this happens, but it seems to be a natural process linked to the whale's unique lifestyle, and a structural protein known as collagen might have something to do with it.

Collagen exists in various types of connective tissue, but it's also abundant inside of whale fins. Whenever this collagen breaks down, the fin appears to go limp. Unfortunately, there's no conclusive explanation concerning how the collagen breaks down in the first place.

One theory suggests that the temperature of a whale's environment breaks the collagen down, but another suggests that captive orcas can't swim fast enough to exercise their fins.

All theories aside, these circumstances seem to vary from one killer whale to the next, whether they're captive or wild. That said, there's an ongoing mystery regarding the subject, and it'll take more research to solve indefinitely.

About the Author
Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
NOV 19, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Unlocking the Secret of a Tasty Cold Drink
NOV 19, 2020
Unlocking the Secret of a Tasty Cold Drink
Sour beer isn't for everyone: its unique taste of acidity and tartness could excite some but turn off others.  ...
DEC 11, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Cosmic Expansion: Universe Stretches, We don't
DEC 11, 2020
Cosmic Expansion: Universe Stretches, We don't
Physicists believe that we exist in an expanding universe. But what does that mean? Do our habitats, bodies, and atoms & ...
JAN 13, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Astronomers Identify Another Crucial Aspect for Planets to Support Life
JAN 13, 2021
Astronomers Identify Another Crucial Aspect for Planets to Support Life
For some time now, we have known of the 'Goldilocks zone'- a distance from the sun that leads to planets neither ...
JAN 13, 2021
Plants & Animals
Dwarf Giraffes Observed for the First Time Ever
JAN 13, 2021
Dwarf Giraffes Observed for the First Time Ever
The name “dwarf giraffe” certainly seems like an oxymoron, which is why scientists were shocked to observe t ...
MAY 10, 2021
Plants & Animals
Sharks Can Use Earth's Magnetic Field to Navigate
MAY 10, 2021
Sharks Can Use Earth's Magnetic Field to Navigate
How do sharks make transatlantic journeys without losing their way? New research published this week in Current Biology ...
JUN 28, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Yeast Engineered to Produce Biofuel from Previously Unusable Biomass
JUN 28, 2021
Yeast Engineered to Produce Biofuel from Previously Unusable Biomass
Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have found a way to expand biofuel production with geneticall ...
Loading Comments...