Why do the fins of orca whales bend?

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Killer whales are also referred to as orcas and they are one of many famous animals in public ocean parks or oceanariums.  Despite their name, killer whales are actually close relatives of dolphins are considered much nicer than their reputation.  They are not known to attack people and are considered gentle enough to be trained in captivity.  Orcas are known for their black and white color and most males also have a distinct dorsal fin.  These fins are fully developed once the orcas reach their late adolescent stage.  Under normal conditions, the dorsal fins point upwards and project a strong cartilage or collagen support.  Orcas that are held captive meanwhile have dorsal fins that are typically bent. The reason for this is not actually determined and specified but scientists always point out that the bent dorsal fins do not mean that the orcas are having health problems.  Many experts have suggested that the collagen and cartilage support of the dorsal fins may have weakened over time because of the limited swimming space for captive killer whales.  The natural pressure of the water and ocean currents become absent when the orcas are kept in pools or restricted parts of the ocean.

There are also scientists who believe that dietary changes may have also played a factor in the bent dorsal fins of orcas.  What orcas eat in the wild are obviously different from what they are given while being held captive and the nutrients they get may not be enough to support the upright orientation of their dorsal fins.  Others also believe that the stress put on the orcas while being restricted in terms of movement may also contribute to the bending of their dorsal fins.  Some also theorize that the lower blood pressure in captive orcas may also be the culprit in terms of maintaining the dorsal fin’s health and support.

Author: erwin

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