Whale watchers spotted a mysterious giant white blob while cruising off the coast of Hawaii. It was a rare find and everyone was wondering what the floating substantial white blob on the Hawaiian waters was.
Well, this fluffy and velvety mass of floating white matter was a humpback whale’s placenta, according to the Pacific Whale Foundation. They stated that humpback whales migrate to Hawaii’s waters to breed and calve their young. The placenta of the humpback whale is the proof of the birthing process of the giant marine creature.
This discovery could help in understanding how these mammals give birth. The scientists presume that the placenta easily extricates after the calf is born and it just floats away.
In human beings, the placenta has a significant role during pregnancy. It is an organ that develops in the uterus while being pregnant. This organ delivers oxygen and nutrients to the growing baby and gets rid of the wastes from the blood of the baby. It connects to the wall of the uterus and the baby’s umbilical cord arises from it, according to Mayo Clinic.
Rosie Williams, a whale researcher and doctoral student at the National Environment Research Council Doctoral Training Partnership in London, said that is not the first time a whale placenta has been found in Hawaiian waters. In 1994, a massive and similar object was seen near Hawaii. It confirmed that the mass was a humpback whale placenta, which was seen floating next to a newborn humpback.
The rare floating mass was about 1.2 to 1.5 meters long. Meanwhile, the part that was submerged was about 2.4 meters long. The umbilical cord measured about five centimeters wide and 1.3 meters long, according to Live Science.
Williams described it as an exciting discovery. She further said that if samples have been taken, then there is a significant potential to try and understand more about the reproduction of these fascinating animals.
Whales are placental creatures and deliver birth to their young similar to humans and land mammals. They have identical characteristics such as giving birth and feeding their young through milk. They are also warm-blooded and need oxygen to survive. However, they differ in the gestation period. Humans and land animals have a gestation period lasts for 38 to 40 weeks or 10 months. Meanwhile, the whales’ gestation period could last from 9 to 17 months depending on the type of species.