Subject: Orca longevity

Jen Philips (
Wed, 17 Dec 1997 17:38:01 -1000 (HST)

On Tue, 16 Dec 1997, OrcaHappy wrote:

> 	I 'm not sure how much you know about them but I am having debate-like
> problem with this person  i know . He says that the longest an orca can live
> (MALE or FEMALE) is 35. Well I am an orca fanatic it's one of my major
> addictions and I have read all over the place in hundreds of different
> books/web pages/mag./little kid articles (well I don't know if it's hundreds,
> it's more like 30-50 different refrences) that orcas live aprox. 80 years in
> females and 50 years in males . 
> 	Could you please tell me who is correct (it would also help me with a
> research paper I am doing which is due friday.) if in fact you do know the
> answer to that question if not could you please respond saying so ?
> Thank you extremely in advance,
> Charlie*  Rae

Hello Charlie Rae - 

Good question, and good thing you checked because now you can tell your
friend that you were right!  Killer whales can live much longer than 35
years.  We know this from dating of growth rings in teeth and especially
from the extended knowledge of populations in which individuals are
tracked and studied for years.  The oldest known female was indeed over 80
years, and the oldest male was over 50 years old. 

So, congratulations.  I guess you really are a good fanatic of killer

Aloha -

Jen Philips

Jennifer D. Philips

Marine Mammal Research Program - HIMB		(808) 236-4001
University of Hawaii, Manoa          
Honolulu, HI  96822	      "First, there were some amoebas. Deviant
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