Scientists Shocked By Appearance Of Animal They Thought Was Extinct

Unexpectedly, a gray whale—long believed to have disappeared from the Atlantic Ocean—was spotted last week close to Nantucket. Witnesses, all specialists in marine matters, were astonished and ecstatic.

The Atlantic Ocean has not seen a gray whale since the 1700s, whereas the Pacific Coast is teeming with them. According to a news release from the New England Aquarium, observers have long suspected that a gray whale seen off the Florida coast in December is the same whale seen last week.

On Friday, March 1, the airborne survey team members from the New England Aquarium spotted the creature. They managed to get pictures of it diving and surface diving several times.

The whales may be showing indications of making a comeback to the Atlantic Ocean as a result of climate change. It is quite probable that the whale traversed the Arctic Ocean via the Northwest Passage, which connects the two seas. Gray whales are able to freely migrate into the Atlantic Ocean now that the Northwest Passage is ice-free during summers.

According to an associate research scientist at the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium, the ocean constantly changes, offering surprises at every turn. Orla O’Brien said it is possible when asked about the likelihood of seeing humpback, right, and fin whales.

The sightings of gray whales in the Atlantic in recent times are proof of the quick reaction of marine creatures to climate change.

Other whale species have also been significantly impacted by climate change. North Atlantic right whales are shrinking in stature as a result of the warmer environment reducing the availability of food for these vulnerable whales.

When whales shrink in stature, it affects the moms in ways that make giving birth more difficult. A new study published in the Royal Society Open Science journal found that a female whale with a length of 46 feet had a significantly better chance of having a healthy baby compared to one with a shorter length of 36 feet.