A whale-watching information struck white gold final month when he encountered a uncommon, albino grey whale breaching off the west coast of Baja California, Mexico.
Footage of the whale, which tour information and scuba teacher Manuel Gonzalez posted to Fb in March, has drawn comparisons to Moby Dick, the white whale of literary legend described by Herman Melville in 1851. Not like Moby, who was a gargantuan sperm whale with an urge for food for New England mariner limbs, the grey whale recorded right here was in all probability simply chilling within the space for its annual mating season.
Likewise, the whiteness of this whale just isn’t some overwrought metaphor — it is simply genetics. [The 10 Weirdest Medical Cases in the Animal Kingdom]
Albinism is a genetic abnormality attributable to an absence of the pores and skin pigment melanin, which is accountable for darkish coloration in hair, pores and skin and fur. The situation is taken into account uncommon in most animals, although it has been noticed in many alternative species, together with zebras, snakes, gorillas and dolphins.
This isn’t the primary time an albino whale has been noticed off the coast of Baja California; certainly, it might be yet one more sighting of an area celeb cetacean. In 2008, researchers noticed an albino grey whale that they affectionately nicknamed Galón de Leche (Milk Gallon). In 2016, researchers noticed the identical whale once more, this time within the presence of a normal-colored whale calf.
Years, earlier than, in 2003, a special crew had seen a “pure-white whale calf” which will have been Milk Gallon as a child; nonetheless, there is no such thing as a photographic proof to again this up, in response to a 2017 report within the journal Aquatic Mammals.
Scientists have not stated but whether or not this newest sighting is of Milk Gallon.
Initially revealed on Stay Science.