Great photo of a fin whale’s asymmetrical jaw coloring

Photo credit: NOAA

This is an aerial shot of a fin whale, the second largest baleen whale and the fastest. It’s a great photo because it shows the asymmetrical coloring of the fin whale’s lower jaw.

Take a close look on the left (your left, the whale’s right) and you can see the white coloring all along the right side of the fin whale’s lower jaw under the ocean’s surface. Then take a close look on the right (your right, the whale’s left) and you’ll see just a dark gray that’s much harder to see compared to the bright white on the other side.

This is one whale trait I find fascinating. Why does a fin whale have a lower jaw that’s two different colors? Theories abound, but no one really knows for sure. I discuss several possibilities in the post “Fin whales: cheetahs of the sea,” but at the time I didn’t realize there was such an excellent photo showing the entire lower jaw in the public domain. Thanks NOAA!

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