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
SEP 10, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Could There Be Life on Venus?
SEP 10, 2020
Could There Be Life on Venus?
Venus is the hottest planet in our solar system, reaching 465 degrees Celcius- a temperature hot enough to melt lead. Wh ...
SEP 25, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Colossal Study for the Missing (Anti)Matter
SEP 25, 2020
Colossal Study for the Missing (Anti)Matter
Physicists believe that our observable universe exists in a mirrored configuration: any fundamental particle such as pro ...
DEC 15, 2020
Immunology
The Possibility of Improving an Older Adult's Response to Vaccines
DEC 15, 2020
The Possibility of Improving an Older Adult's Response to Vaccines
A recent study published in the eLife journal examined how they can improve older adults' responses to vaccines ...
DEC 29, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Why is the Sun's Outer Atmosphere Hotter than its Surface?
DEC 29, 2020
Why is the Sun's Outer Atmosphere Hotter than its Surface?
The fact that the Sun's distant atmosphere is significantly hotter than its surface has been a topic of confusion in ...
MAR 18, 2021
Space & Astronomy
There May Be More Water-Rich Planets than Previously Thought
MAR 18, 2021
There May Be More Water-Rich Planets than Previously Thought
Researchers have hypothesized that a certain mechanism may mean there are many more water-rich planets with atmospheres ...
APR 07, 2021
Plants & Animals
Scientists Discover a Crab-Dissolving Parasite
APR 07, 2021
Scientists Discover a Crab-Dissolving Parasite
Parasites abound throughout the natural world. While not all of them cause the host's death, this newly discovered p ...
Loading Comments...