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Valencia, Spain. Common whale with scoliosis [Wideo]

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In the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Valencia, a 40-tonne blue whale was recently spotted with a severe case of scoliosis. The presence of a mammal in such a state has alarmed local marine animal protection organizations.

Drone footage shared by the Spanish Civil Guard shows a 40-tonne common whale (Balaenoptera physalus), floating near the municipality of Cullera. It was first spotted on March 4.

Scoliosis in a whale

The 17-meter mammal was examined by experts from the organization Fundacion Oceanografic de Valencia. They found that the animal was not entangled, but was suffering from a severe form of scoliosis.

As experts informed on Facebook, due to the whale’s size, being in the open sea and its developmental defect, it was not possible to set up a transmitter that would allow it to be tracked. After a few hours, however, the animal swam away. However, it added that due to the defect, the whale may reappear in the area in the future.

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Common whale with scoliosisReuters

Where did the disease come from?

According to experts, the mammal’s injury could have resulted from a collision with a ship that broke the whale’s back.

“The term ‘scoliosis’ simply refers to an abnormal lateral curvature of the spine,” Jens Currie, chief scientist at the Pacific Whale Foundation in Hawaii, told Live Science. “The cause of scoliosis can take many forms, but the most common is blunt trauma,” he added.

As the expert said, it is likely that the whale “was recently struck by a ship”. – Large whales can be born with scoliosis or develop it in their early years. But young whales with this condition almost never make it to adulthood, Currie added.

Reuters, sciencealert.com, livescience.com, tvnmeteo.pl

Main photo source: Reuters

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