Researchers from the American Museum of National History, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Environment Society of Oman and many more have examined and uncovered that humpback whales from the Arabian Seas, are not different when it comes to genetics from other whales. The problem is that the Arabian Sea humpback whales were isolated for 70,000 years and there was no contact between them and other wales in this period of time.
The humpback whales are known for their migration on long distances but they continue to impress researchers with the way they maintained their population in their natural habitat for thousands of years. The whales were not the only ones surviving but the Arabian Sea humpback whales were isolated for 70,000 years from others humpback whales in the North Pacific and of the Southern Hemisphere.
The scientists noted in their research that when comparing the nuclear and mitochondrial DNA samples taken from around 70 humpback whales living in the Arabian Seas to other populations of whales from the Southern Hemisphere or the North Pacific they discovered that Arabian Sea humpback whales showed very strong distinctions.
Wildlife Conservation Society researcher and co-author of the study, Tim Collins said:
“The epic seasonal migrations of humpbacks elsewhere are well known, so this small, non-migratory population presents a wonderful and intriguing enigma. They also beg many questions: how and why did the population originate, how does it persist, and how do their behaviors differ from other humpback whales?”
The outcomes of the study clearly show that the Arabian Sea humpback whales are very distinct from their relatives in the North Pacific and Southern Hemisphere. Divergence estimates and gene flow indicate the animals originated in the Southern Indian Ocean but show that the Arabian Sea humpback whales were isolated for 70,000 years.
The authors of the study also said that the low population abundance estimates and genetic diversity in combination with anthropogenic dangers may increase worries about the survival of the Arabian Sea humpback whales.
The study was conducted by Ana Rita Amaral, Tim Collins, Cristina Pomilla and Howard Rosenbaum and was published in the PLOS ONE journal.