At the beginning of 2023, scientists made a surprise finding.
The pygmy right whale (Caperea marginata), which is the smallest of the baleen whales, didn’t move far from waters in the Southern Ocean. It’s surprising because long-distance migration is a behaviour practised by most other baleen whales.
Knowledge of this enigmatic species, which is a filter-feeder using baleen to sift tasty but tiny marine life from seawater, is slowly, but surely, on the rise.
But is this baleen like having a set of teeth? Or is it something altogether separate? Do whales even have teeth to chow down on prey that is so small?
On the latest episode of Science Detectives, a new podcast series from Cosmos, Matthew Ward Agius goes diving into what baleen is, whether whales have (or need) teeth, and how much food a whale really needs with whale researchers Dr Adelaide Dedden and Dr Catherine Kemper.
Subscribe to Science Detectives on your favourite podcast service: