Nice killer moms:
I like porpoises better than killer whales.  Mind you this is Florida, so I really man dolphins.  We tend to use the same name for a different kind of animal hereabouts.  Killer whales seem to me to be dangerous and to look cramped in captivity.  Porpoises seem to love it.  Maybe it’s the smile. 

But I have one nice story about killer whales.  I used to have a good friend who had been a Coast Guard Seal, a big guy.  He seemed to have more tall tales than a Pecos Bill convention.  But every time I had occasion to check the facts he was always telling the truth.

He had been on an Antarctic expedition.  That mean ramming a lot of ice and having a lot of ice hit the propellers.  So a periodic task was for a diver to go down, pull the old cotter pin from each propeller, tighten the nut and replace the cotter pin.  One day he was working in the dungeon light under the boat as it stood adrift in mile deep water and had difficulties with one of the cotter pins.  As he finished he noticed something distinctly odd.  He was standing.  He hadn’t noticed, but at some time during the struggle he had got his footing and that helped him.  Looking down he saw only blackness.  Looking over his shoulder he saw the top of an enormous fin looming above even his mighty frame.  He had a phone line to the ship and told them he would be out of touch for a bit.  A huge killer whale had quietly come up under him and helped him.  Seals are noted more for audacity than prudence, and he was a good natured man.  He walked around behind the fin, sat down and grabbed a hold.  For several minutes the beast swam around with his human burden.  At times they breached clear of the water.  The sailors on deck were astonished.

A “killer ap” is an application that makes something, like a cell phone, exceed all expectations.  In this sense I had a killer mother. 

I’m not alone.  Killer whale mothers even after they have passed reproductive age continue to help their offspring.  The mortality rate for males doubles after the mother dies.  (Adaptive Prolonged Post Reproductive Life Span in Killer Whales SCIENCE Emma A. Foster et al, vol. 337 no. 6100 Sept 14, 2023 page 1313)  It turns out that males mate outside the pod.  This involves getting into fights that are quite deadly, as you might imagine.  The mother helps immensely by standing by to lend a helpful bite.  I think if human reproductive success depended on beating up other males, and if I had had my mother backing me up, my children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren by now would be as the sands of the sea.

There have been 68,537 visitors so far.

Home page