Talk:Blue whale

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Since 10 Nov 2014 the size of 180 metric tons (200 short tons) given in the lead has been in conflict with the size as given in its readily-accessible source, which says 190 short tons (170 t).

Comparing this to the Blue whale#Size section, "Animal records" and "Assessment and update status report" have always agreed on 190 short tons as the largest recorded size, although the latter is rather more sceptical of this figure. "The Guinness Book of Animal Facts and Feats" (and Guinness world records more generally) seems to have settled on 190 tonnes, 190 metric tons (210 short tons). Given the common reference to 1947 as the date of this measurement it seems likely that GWR have used the same source as "Assessment and update status report" (Tomilin 1957, "Mammals of the USSR and adjacent countries" as translated 1967) but selected a different unit. It is unclear which unit is correct.

The sizes of 150–170 metric tons (170–190 short tons), 180 metric tons (200 short tons) and 177 metric tons (195 short tons) that appear in the Blue whale#Size section do not appear to be backed by sources. In particular note that "Assessment and update status report" says 80–150 short tons (73–136 t) (plus the mention of the 190 ton outlier above).

TuxLibNit (talk) 22:08, 2 March 2016 (UTC)

As Guinness is the outlier and the rest agree on a maximum of 173 tonnes or 190 short tons, the most likely explanation is that Guinness have their tons mixed up and have misread 190 tons as 190 tonnes. DrKay (talk) 12:46, 8 March 2016 (UTC)

You're wrong, there are really some reliable sources wich says the max size is 190 TONNES, and NOT 190 TONS, I've checked the sources. WelcometoJurassicPark (talk) 17:29, 16 April 2016 (UTC)

Please don't make things up. We're perfectly capable of checking the sources ourselves. DrKay (talk) 20:26, 16 April 2016 (UTC)

Please check the Wood, Gerald (1983). The Guinness Book of Animal Facts and Feats. p. 256. ISBN 978-0-85112-235-9. source. It is reliable, and it says the heaviest nrecorded blue whale was 190 TONNES, and NOT 190 TONS. WelcometoJurassicPark (talk) 13:41, 18 April 2016 (UTC)

In these edits: [1][2], you claim that:
(1) This source [3] states that:
  1. Blue whales weigh more than 190 short tons.
  2. "adult blue whales have never been weighed whole, but cut up into manageable pieces first. This caused an underestimate of the total weight of the whale, due to the loss of blood and other fluids"
  3. "measurements between 150–170 tonnes (170–190 short tons) were recorded of animals up to 27 metres (89 ft) in length"
  4. "The weight of an individual 30 metres (98 ft) long is believed by the American National Marine Mammal Laboratory (NMML) to be in excess of 180 tonnes (200 short tons)"
  5. "The largest blue whale accurately weighed by NMML scientists to date was a female that weighed 177 tonnes (195 short tons)"
  6. that the longest whale (of 29.9m) was "measured by scientists at the NMML"
(2) The Guinness Book of Records states that "There is some uncertainty about the biggest blue whale ever found, as most data came from blue whales killed in Antarctic waters during the first half of the twentieth century, which were collected by whalers not well-versed in standard zoological measurement techniques."
(3) The longest whale of 29.9m was a "female caught in the Antarctic by Japanese whalers in 1946–47" according to Capelotti, P.J. (ed.), Quentin R. Walsh. 2010. The Whaling Expedition of the Ulysses, 1937–38, p. 28.
None of these claims are substantiated by the sources. In fact, on point (1)3 above, the source explicitly says that adult weights typically range from 73–136 tonnes (80–150 short tons), but this is a fact that you are removing from the article.
On the issue of the Guinness claim of 190 tonnes, this claim directly contradicts all the scientific literature, which puts the maximum size at 190 short tons. The body of scientific literature is more reliable than a single pop culture tertiary source, and it is undue weight to give more credence or the same credence to a single source than to all of the other sources, particularly when the other sources are more professional and expert than the single source. DrKay (talk) 15:45, 18 April 2016 (UTC)

In Lockyer's 1976 paper "Body Weights of some Species of Large Whales," it gives the formula W= L^3.25 * 0.0029 to calculate the average weight of a blue whale of a given length. This varies substantially by how much fat the whale has, which varies according to season and/or availability of food. L is length in meters, W is weight in metric tons. I converted the formula to W= L^3.25 * 0.00006726 for feet and short tons.

Another paper by the same author (I believe it's called "Growth and Energy Budgets of Southern Baleen Whales" or something very similar) calculated that the lean weight is about 80% of average and the fattened weight is 120%. Pregnant blue whales are 1.6 times (or was it 1.65 times?) the lean weight.

In Ichihara's original paper about pygmy blue whales, he determines that they are on average 10% heavier than other blue whales of the same length. From that I calculated the length/weight formula for pygmy blue whales (in imperial units) to be W= L^3.25 * 0.000074161. Antarctic blue whales are about 80-90 feet when fully grown. In Branch's paper "Biological Parameters for Pygmy Blue Whales" he states that they average 68-74 feet when fully grown. Northern blue whales are in between Pygmy and Antarctic blue whales in length.

Therefore, across all subspecies and seasons, the average weight would vary from about 50 to 180 short tons. a 98 foot long pregnant blue whale would weigh over 250 tons. In Dan Bortolotti's book "Wild Blue: A Natural History of the World's Largest Animal," it states that the largest blue whales would weigh over 200 tons. Another paper (I'll try to find which one) states that a 108 foot blue whale would probably not be able to exist due to respiration and energy constraints. The calculated average weight for a 108 foot blue whale is about 275 tons. Therefore the maximum weight is probably over 250 tons, possibly as high as about 270 tons. However the maximum length is probably only about 100 feet.

I realize this can't all be added to the article, but the original weight/length formula, the length of pygmy blue whales and the fact that they are 10% heavier on average, the variation in weight, and the fact that they can be over 200 tons should be. MrAwesome888 (talk) 22:43, 10 June 2016 (UTC)

I have added the part about 200 tons in the size section, but have not added anything else since I don't know how to add new citations. MrAwesome888 (talk) 20:00, 13 June 2016 (UTC)

I figured it out. I read Lockyer 1976 again and found that the length/weight formula I posted above was just a reprinting of an older one, the paper has an updated formula and a separate one for pygmy blue whales. The weights I posted in the article were derived using it and the results multiplied by 1.06 to compensate for 6% blood loss, as the new formula does not include it. MrAwesome888 (talk) 02:48, 22 June 2016 (UTC)

Are you saying that it is your own original research and the weights and formula used are not given in the citation? DrKay (talk) 05:01, 22 June 2016 (UTC)
No, I'm saying that the paper in the citation gives the formula to calculate the weights for different lengths. It says that they are not compensated for blood loss, and that the results they give are about 94% of the weight of a live whale. Therefore to calculate the average weight of a live whale use the formula and multiply by 1.06. I sincerely hope that using math, (which is possibly the only objective and universal truth), to calculate the weights from a formula specifically provided for doing so in a scientific paper on the subject does not count as "original research." MrAwesome888 (talk) 20:32, 23 June 2016 (UTC)
WP:CALC allows for the results of calculations to be included if it is the consensus of editors to do so. Now that you've explained it, I don't have a problem with it, personally. DrKay (talk) 20:42, 23 June 2016 (UTC)
Thanks. I'll try to learn more about the editing rules and style so I don't cause problems.
MrAwesome888 (talk) 22:24, 23 June 2016 (UTC)

The article gives the average size for physically mature Antarctic females as 26.5 meters (87 feet) but one of the citations given (the IUCN red data book) gives a range of 26-27 meters as a loose average. It seems that whoever added 26.5 meters simply put in the average of 26 and 27 meters. (I haven't been able to read the other source, if someone who can could tell me exactly what it says there that would be great) "Growth and Energy Budgets of Large Baleen Whales from the Southern Hemisphere" by Lockyer, already cited elsewhere in the article, gives the more precise figure of 26.2 meters (86 feet) as the Antarctic female average. It also gives the male average as 25 meters, which is the same as what's already in the article. Therefore I'm changing the female average here to 26.2 meters, please don't revert unless the other source contradicts it or there is another good reason to. MrAwesome888 (talk) 20:40, 15 July 2016 (UTC)

Also, since weight and not length is the primary scientific criterion for size, "largest extant animal and the heaviest that has ever existed" should be changed back to "largest animal ever to have existed." MrAwesome888 (talk) 21:01, 15 July 2016 (UTC)

Article on Blue Whale Penis[edit]

There is an article called "Blue whale penis" that does not link to the main blue whale article. Also, I do not believe that the main blue whale article has a link to the page or even talks about the genitalia. I thought about merging the blue whale penis page with the main blue whale page, but determined that the resulting article would be exorbitant in length. (talk) 20:55, 1 July 2016 (UTC)

Interesting question. Before I read the Blue whale penis article, my instinct was that there should not be a separate article because we then descend into writing articles about Elephant penis and Dog penis and any other type of penis. When I read the article though, I found it informative and relatively well written. Having said that, it has some sources which I am not immediately sure about, and the large quote needs to be paraphrased. I suggest it goes through a really harsh trimming and editing process, and then re-assess whether it should be merged into Blue whale. I'm willing to help with this. DrChrissy (talk) 21:14, 1 July 2016 (UTC)
The article is linked from the "Size" section. DrKay (talk) 08:34, 2 July 2016 (UTC)

"In Popular Culture" section[edit]

I think I remember there being one years ago, it mentioned a Pokemon based off of a blue whale and a movie where a blue whale is used to move an island, but obviously it was deleted some time ago. Does anyone else remember it, and why was it deleted? MrAwesome888 (talk) 22:44, 10 August 2016 (UTC)

It was removed in this edit. CMD (talk) 15:11, 11 August 2016 (UTC)
Thanks, now I can see why it was removed. MrAwesome888 (talk) 23:24, 11 August 2016 (UTC)
I recreated the section since I believe there is enough information in it to justify its existence. If has flaws or style violations of which I am unaware, please improve it if you can but do not delete it.
MrAwesome888 (talk) 01:08, 19 August 2016 (UTC)
It renders the article non-compliant with the featured article criteria, and if neither improved nor removed, then the article should go to Wikipedia:Featured article review for potential delisting. DrKay (talk) 06:28, 19 August 2016 (UTC)
Ugh, sad to see that my boldest edit yet is so problematic. I certainly wouldn't want this article to be delisted on my account, but I also don't want that section removed, since how the blue whale is popularly viewed is important, especially the misconceptions. I'll improve it as much as I can.
MrAwesome888 (talk) 20:56, 19 August 2016 (UTC)

Further reading[edit]

The rules say for further reading say that nothing should be there that's in the references should be in further reading UNLESS the references section is too long to use as a guide, which I'd say it is. Therefore "Wild Blue" should be re-added. MrAwesome888 (talk) 23:58, 28 August 2016 (UTC)

At nearly 100kB the article is already too long to navigate and edit comfortably. I have to edit articles over 100kB in sections because it is impossible to edit them otherwise and it makes loading incredibly slow. There should be no duplication in the article, because if it grows much longer the article will become inaccessible to large parts of the globe that are not fortunate enough to live in highly-developed first-world countries or use the latest connections and computers. DrKay (talk) 07:38, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
In that case, maybe "Further Reading" should be removed altogether.
MrAwesome888 (talk) 20:56, 31 August 2016 (UTC)