Rare images of a fin whale with a body so deformed that it has difficulty swimming have stirred Spain in recent weeks.
This remarkable mammal, about 17 meters long and weighing about 40 tons, was spotted by the Coast Guard, before a team from the Oceanográfic Aquarium in Valencia, the largest in Europe, approached it.
Experts determined that the whale likely suffered from severe scoliosis, a severe curvature of the spine. The cause of this scoliosis is unknown, but in whales it is often due to collision with a vessel.
Oceanográfic showed that the deformation of a whale can affect not only its ability to swim and dive, but also its feeding.
The whale stayed near the coast for a few hours before returning to sea. Because of its condition, the researchers were unable to place a tracker on the animal, so its current condition is unknown.
The fin whale is the second largest animal in the world, with some individuals reaching 27 meters in length and 70 tons. These whales are no larger than blue whales, which can exceed 30 meters and 170 tons.
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