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WATCH: Whale Poop Looks Strangely Beautiful From the Air

Never thought we'd say that about poop.

You may know that everybody poops, but did you know that whale poop is sort of beautiful?

Drone footage captured by the Oregon State University's Marine Mammal Institute shows huge plumes of orange whale poop from the air, and how the scientists zoom in to study it. As Motherboard reported, it's a fascinating process.

"It's a moment of complete movement on the boat," marine ecologist Leigh Torres said in an OSU video.

"Everybody goes right into action [when] somebody screams, 'Poop!'"

According to Motherboard, these scientists are studying whale feces because it can tell you so much about the health of the animal.

Torres told the outlet they can better understand the hormones of the whale and can isolate the reproductive and stress hormones. And, because they're recording via drone while they collect fecal samples, they can match the filmed observations of a whale to their genetic information.

Torres said it's crucial to get the sample before it sinks, making the 20 seconds after a whale poops the most important.

That's why they all rush into place to examine the orange-y waste cloud.

whale poop

Giphy/GEMM Lab

Whale poop doesn't just tell us about whales either. It actually serves both the whales and the sea.

According to NPR, the iron-rich poop clouds create phytoplankton blooms — which is what cetaceans like blue whales and humpbacks eat.

Basically they eat, they poop and their poop creates more opportunities to eat.

It's a genius cycle.

whale poop

Giphy/GEMM Lab

Whale poop also is really important for the ocean because it redistributes key nutrients.

As LiveScience reported, when whales dive deep into the sea, they release their bowls at the surface so their digestive organs don't have to expend any energy during the dive.

Whales like sperm whales are eating way deep down and then excreting those deep-sea minerals and nutrients at the surface, helping churn the water column. That way, even creatures that can't dive that deep can access those deep-sea ingredients.

So not only does the poop allow humans to study a key part of a whale's life; it also helps their own food chain and the ocean as a whole.

And studying it is a smelly job, but someone's gotta do it.

whale poop


Good thing it at least looks pretty from the air.

Check out the full drone video of mesmerizing whale poop here:

Add your name right now to make a difference for dolphins, whales and other marine mammals with Oceana.

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