Questions on Killer Whales (fwd)

From: Mike Williamson (williams@whale.wheelock.edu)
Date: Mon Jan 30 2006 - 06:30:10 EST

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    >
    >
    >Greetings to the Whalemaster
    >
    >My name is Kirthi. I am a 7th grader in Fairfax, Virginia. I am doing a
    >research project on Killer Whales.
    >
    >Could you forward my questions to the appropriate person (?):
    >
    > 1) How old is the Killer Whale species?

    As a species (although scientists are beginning to realize that each
    community around the planet is in the process of becoming its own separate
    species) killer whales have probably been in their present form for around
    6-7 million years, based on dolphin fossils and at least one 6-miollion
    year old killer whale tooth.

    > 2) Is there any one mammel that is most closely related to it
    > genetically?

    If you mean a land mammal, that would be the hippopotamus. If you mean the
    closest related marine mammal, I'm not aware of the closest genetic
    relative, but I would guess the Risso's dolphin or pilot whales would be
    closest.

    > 3) What problems is it experiencing at this point - genetic,
    >survival, etc.?

    That's different in every ecosystem around the world, but in general it's
    the usual suspects of habitat degradation, toxic pollution and over harvest
    of prey species or food for prey species.

    > 4) What are some of its outstanding natural behaviors and their
    > meanings?

    The newly discovered fact that each orca community is its own traditional
    culture that determines virtually every aspect of behavior, much like human
    cultures but unlike any land mammal.

    > 5) What does the future hold for the Killer Whale?

    Hopefully as the realization sinks into mainstream media that we are
    dealing with a species so highly advanced that we have much to learn from
    them, we will begin to respect them, and so begin to protect, conserve and
    restore their habitats. We may also learn how to relate better to other
    human cultures by seeing how orca cultures relate to one another, and how
    orca individuals relate to one another.

    > 6) Are there any organizations that specifically look to
    > research
    >and aid the Killer Whales?

    Sure, Orca Network, at www.orcanetwork.org, and the Center for Whale
    Research, at www.whaleresearch.com, and The Whale Museum, at
    www.whalemuseum.org. There are many others, whose links you can find from
    those listed.

    >You can contact me at _KarenBisset@aol.com_ (mailto:KarenBisset@aol.com)
    >
    >Thanks for Your Help,

    You're very welcome.

    Howard

    >
    >Kirthi

    Howard Garrett
    Orca Network
    Greenbank WA
    (360) 678-3451
    www.orcanetwork.org
    howard@orcanetwork.org



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