Modern day Moby Dick? Check out this super rare, all-white killer whale
Swim aside, Moby Dick — there’s a new white whale in town. Researchers recently spotted what is believed to be the only all-white adult orca whale in existence. The Moby Dick doppelganger is making quite a splash in the wildlife community.
White whales of various species are occasionally seen; but the only known white orcas have been young, including one with a rare genetic condition that died in a Canadian aquarium in 1972.
Researchers know that this white whale — whom they’ve named “Iceberg” — is definitely an adult: His two-meter-long (6.5-feet-long) dorsal fin proves that he’s at least 16 years old.
Scientists are stumped as to why Iceberg is all-white instead of the usual black-and-white combo, but it could be a genetic condition. Researchers plan to continue studying Iceberg, but they’re reluctant to actually do a biopsy on him unless there’s a “compelling conservation reason.” That’s probably a good idea — you know what happened when Captain Ahab tried messing with a white whale.
Get Grist in your inbox