Questions for “A whale’s nearly four-hour-long dive sets a new record”

A Cuvier’s beaked whale (three shown) has broken the record for the longest dive by a marine mammal. It stayed underwater for three hours and 42 minutes. The previous champion was from the same species and spent over two hours underwater, documented in 2014.

Danielle Waples/Duke Univ.

To accompany “A whale’s nearly four-hour-long dive sets a new record


Before Reading:

1. What type of animal is a whale?

2. How long do you think a whale could hold its breath underwater?  

During Reading:

1.  Which species of whale holds the record for the deepest dive and how deep was it?

2.  What was the 2014 record for the longest dive by a whale and what species did it?

3.  What is anaerobic respiration?

4.  Which marine mammal did scientists at Duke University Marine Laboratory study to better understand how whales manage long dives? 

5.  How long do most whale dives last?

6.  In the Duke University study, what percentage of whale dives exceeded 78 minutes?

After Reading:

1. Why do you think scientists believe studying the underwater breathing patterns of marine mammals, especially whales, is important? Explain your answer.

2. Why do you think whales spend a good portion of their day underwater?