The gray whale swims the longest distance on record for marine vertebrates. This was stated in a study published in the scientific journal Biology Letters. The whale is believed to have traveled about 27,000 km.
The animal was found in 2013 off the Atlantic coast of Namibia, in South Africa. He writes that it was the first gray whale to be found in the Southern Hemisphere National Geographic Based on the study. Next, the path that the animal should take was checked.
It took years of genetic studies to determine that the whale originated in the Pacific Ocean. Two known groups of gray whales live in this ocean: an eastern group with more than 20,000 animals and a western group with nearly 200 endangered whales. Based on its DNA, scientists were able to determine that this animal was genetically closer to whales in the northwestern part of the ocean, near Russia.
Scientists believe that the whale swam around Canada and then moved south across the Atlantic Ocean. There are two other possible routes that are not considered likely one could have swam across the Pacific Ocean and under South America, and on the other hand across the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean and under Africa.
These methods are unlikely because no sightings were reported there. Also, because whales feed in shallow waters, the voyage across the open ocean seems more difficult.
It is not entirely clear why the animal swam halfway across the world. Scientists believe that due to the rapid decline of polar ice due to climate change, gray whales are searching for new habitats. Animals can then get lost.