Sperm Whales Sleep In The Most Bizarre Way: Straight Up And Down
First off, let's clear something up: this is not a fantastic photoshop job, or a scene from the Finding Nemo sequel. This is a real image -- and these school bus-sized whales are really floating straight up and down, hanging motionless in the water.
Researchers first explained the origin of this behavior in a paper published back in 2008, when they came across a pod off the coast of Chile who seemed totally oblivious to their approach in a boat. The whales were sleeping, stock still, they realized.
Evidently, sperm whales enter periodic bouts of sleep, during which they rest for a short time, unlike many other species of whales, which often rest one side of their brain at a time.
Researchers estimate that whales spend about 7.1 percent of their time asleep, usually between 6 p.m. and midnight.
This behavior is startling -- bu t it may be rivaled by footage of the massive animals diving. It's hard to beat that, though.