First case ever seen of conjoined gray whales - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

First case ever seen of conjoined gray whales

Posted: Updated:

SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Scientists are excited by a rare find off the coast of Mexico -- the body of conjoined twin gray whales.

Other types of conjoined whales and dolphins have been discovered before, but this could be the first documented case of conjoined gray whales.

"You can see the animal has two tails, one for each twin. And then also each of them have their own head and they're joined at the abdomen," NOAA research biologist Kerri Danil said.

A video showing the whales posted on YouTube was taken Sunday in Mexico's Scammon's Lagoon along the Baja California peninsula, where scientists found the carcass.

"What was going on… it was probably really confusing to them when they first saw it," Danil said.

She says conjoined twins have been documented in dolphins and different baleen whales, but never the gray whale.

"I haven't found any documentation in the literature for gray whales, so this might be the first," she said.

Photos and comments posted on Facebook reveal the carcass was about seven feet in length, which is only about half the size of a healthy calf. Danil says scientists should be able to determine if it was stillborn.

"You can look at the tissues to tell whether or not the animals ever took a breath of air, so they'll be able to tell whether it was a still birth or whether the animals actually surfaced afterwards and lived for some time possibly," she said.

And if born alive, Danil says it's not likely the conjoined twins lived for long. The orientation of the calves would have made breathing and swimming a big challenge.

"They're in the wrong position for swimming… they're joined abdomen to abdomen… if the animal was oriented this way it would be very hard for them to swim," Danil said. "It is sad, but it's a part of life and there's so much you can learn from them."

Twin births are so rare among whales, researchers say there has been only one documented successful case: a beluga whale in captivity. One calf was born alive, the other was born dead.

  • CBS 8 FEATURESMore>>

  • Police update neighbors about North Park attacks

    Police update neighbors about North Park attacks

    Thursday, July 24 2014 9:03 AM EDT2014-07-24 13:03:34 GMT
    San Diego police assure North Park residents their community is a safe place to live and they are doing everything they can to catch the predators attacking women 
    San Diego police assure North Park residents their community is a safe place to live and they are doing everything they can to catch the predators attacking women 
  • Do dogs get jealous?

    Do dogs get jealous?

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 11:05 PM EDT2014-07-24 03:05:24 GMT
    Call it the green-eyed monster. A new study being done at UC San Diego suggests that jealous isn't just a human emotion – it extends to our four-legged friends as well. 
    Call it the green-eyed monster. A new study being done at UC San Diego suggests that jealous isn't just a human emotion – it extends to our four-legged friends as well. 
  • Keeping your yard intact during the drought

    Keeping your yard intact during the drought

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 1:53 PM EDT2014-07-23 17:53:54 GMT
    Is your lawn turning brown? Is your water bill too high? No doubt, you're like many Californians contending with the drought. 
    Is your lawn turning brown? Is your water bill too high? No doubt, you're like many Californians contending with the drought. 
  • Earth 8More>>

  • Congratulations to our 2014 Eco Ambassador!

    Congratulations to our 2014 Eco Ambassador!

    CBS 8 announced Art FORM San Diego as the 2014 Eco Ambassador web poll winner and the recipient of a $25,000 grant from SDG&E and The San Diego River Park Foundation. 
    CBS 8 announced Art FORM San Diego as the 2014 Eco Ambassador web poll winner and the recipient of a $25,000 grant from SDG&E and The San Diego River Park Foundation. 
  • Pesticides can kill more than you intended

    Pesticides can kill more than you intended

    Thursday, July 17 2014 1:13 PM EDT2014-07-17 17:13:34 GMT
    Left to fend for themselves, four baby raccoons are now being cared for by Project Wildlife. Their mother died from poison likely meant for rodents. It's a death experts say is preventable. 
    Left to fend for themselves, four baby raccoons are now being cared for by Project Wildlife. Their mother died from poison likely meant for rodents. It's a death experts say is preventable. 
  • Regulators impose $500 per day fine for water waste

    Regulators impose $500 per day fine for water waste

    Wednesday, July 16 2014 9:34 AM EDT2014-07-16 13:34:07 GMT
    New water restrictions are in the works, imposed by state regulators who say most Californians are failing to conserve in this ongoing drought. 
    New water restrictions are in the works, imposed by state regulators who say most Californians are failing to conserve in this ongoing drought. 
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and Midwest Television, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.