ArabiaWeather - New research from Australia indicates that whales perform a temporary cleaning of their teeth by throwing seaweed over their heads and placing it in their mouths.
Scientists studied a behavior known as “sea kelpiness” by analyzing aerial footage and social media posts of more than 160 interactions with whales.
They found that seaweed can be a way to clean whales' teeth and that it helps enhance social relationships between them. The results of this study have been described as a "global phenomenon."
Some whales keep kelp and seaweed on their heads for longer than 30 minutes at a time.
Dr Olaf Minnick, a researcher at Griffith University in Queensland, co-authored the study. He explained that he had seen this behavior in several regions of the world, considering that whales have the ability to place seaweed on their heads in the northern and southern hemispheres. He added that there is evidence to support this behavior in several different types of whales.
Whales that possess this behavior are classified as baleen whales, and instead of teeth, they have a large, smooth beak in the front of the mouth to filter food. This behavior consists of throwing seaweed into the air and then swimming through it with their heads.
Baleen whales have a sensory system in their heads, and touching seaweed is thought to give them a good feeling.
Dr. Meinecke was amazed when he saw the whales jumping down into the water with seaweed in their mouths, and the most important observation was when he saw the whales jumping down with seaweed in their mouths because the baleen did not bite. This could be because these grasses are similar to toothbrushes so that it is difficult to clean those areas in their mouths.
However, it should be noted that things may be more complicated than just brushing your teeth. Dr. Meinecke points out that the behavior they observed may be a social activity, such as the exchange of seaweed between whales, and may not be closely related to just cleaning teeth.
The team made this observation by observing three whales sharing the use of kelp, and noticed that other whales had come to watch this activity. Given this positive interaction between whales, the impact of seaweed on their well-being could be a focus for conservation efforts.
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