Minke Whales, sexual maturity

From: Dagmar Fertl (dfertl@geo-marine.com)
Date: Tue Nov 18 2003 - 11:59:19 EST

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    Actually...I did find some conflicing information regarding the age at which
    Minke Whales hit sexual maturity. I found two sources: one said 2 years
    (www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/whales/species/Minke.shtml ) and another
    said it was at the age of 7 (http://www.abdn.ac.uk/mammal/minke.htm). Which
    do you think is correct?? Thanks!
    Erica Lewis
    ****************************
    Erica,

    Good question, and this goes nicely with what I tell people about being
    careful about where you look for information. My gut instinct, without even
    looking up the answer, would've been to go with the higher number. Whales
    take a long term to mature (large animals typically take much longer to
    mature than smaller ones), so two years wouldn't be possible at all. I
    double-checked the answer with the _Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals_
    published by W.F. Perrin et al. in 2002 by Academic Press in San Diego. The
    answer is that sexual maturity has been estimated at about 7 years in males
    and 6 years in females. And wow oh wow, did you know that females are
    pregnant for 10 months (compared to 9 months for humans). Females nurse
    their calves for 45 months (that's well over 3 years!!).

    Oh, back to my comment about the credibility of different sources. Without
    opening the links, I could tell you that the second (with the right answer)
    is a university that has marine mammal scientists working there. The other
    site does not. Way to go on finding the discrepancies! I know from
    experience it's sometimes hard to figure out what source has the right
    information.

    Let me know if you have any other questions.
    Dagmar





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