Record-Breaking Whale Stays Underwater for Mind-Bending 3 Hours and 42 Minutes

A Cuvier’s beaked whale (not the same individual described in the new study).

A Cuvier’s beaked whale (not the same individual described in the new study).
Image: NOAA

Marine biologists are astonished after a Cuvier’s beaked whale held its breath for nearly four hours during a deep dive. The unexpected observation shows there’s much to learn about these medium-sized whales.

Scientists from Duke University and the Cascadia Research Collective recorded the unbelievable dive during field observations off the coast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, in 2017. In the first of two epic dives, the Cuvier beaked whale, wearing tag ZcTag066, stayed underwater for nearly three hours. A week later, the whale outdid itself, holding its breath for a bewildering three hours and 42 minutes.

“We didn’t believe it at first, because these are mammals after all, and any mammal spending that long underwater just seemed incredible,” Nicola Quick, the lead author of the new study and a biologist at Duke University, said

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