Whale Thought To Have Gone Extinct Nearly 200 Years Ago Spotted off Coast of Massachusetts

Photo Of Snout Of Gray Whale Poking Up Above The Water

Photo: isanbar/Depositphotos

On March 1, a whale was spotted swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 30 miles south of Nantucket, Massachusetts. Spotting whales around this time of year isn't unusual for New England Aquarium scientists, but something about this creature gave them pause. Upon closer inspection, they discovered that they were looking at a gray whale, which is a species thought to have been extinct in the Atlantic for nearly 200 years.

The gray whale is routinely found in the North Pacific, but has not been seen in the Atlantic Ocean since the 18th century, making the researchers' find extremely unique. Experts are not entirely sure why the animal disappeared from the region, but whaling could be a factor. Now, researchers say that the whale's sighting in the region is due to climate change, as the ice that normally dots the region hasn't been forming, allowing for easy travel.

According to researchers, there have been five spottings of gray whales in the Atlantic over the last 15 years, with the most recent being seen off the coast of Florida in December. The New England Aquarium believes that this is the same whale that was just spotted around Nantucket.

Gray whales are identifiable by blotchy coloration and lack of a dorsal fin. They are also expert migrators, traveling between feeding and breeding grounds every year. Like many other whales, a healthy gray whale has a particularly long lifespan for a wild animal, estimated to live between 50 to 70 years.

Earlier this month, a gray whale that was previously thought to be extinct in the Atlantic Ocean, was spotted about 30 miles south of Nantucket, Massachusetts.

Photo Of Gray Whale Poking Up Above The Water

Photo: isanbar/Depositphotos

h/t: [Bored Panda]

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Sarah Currier

Sarah Currier is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. Based in central Iowa, she is currently enrolled at Iowa State University and is working toward a BA in Journalism and Mass Communication with a minor in English. She loves all things creative, and when she’s not writing, you can find her immersed in the worlds of television, film, and literature.
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