I’ve been interested in whales and dolphins since I was a kid, but until now I’d never seen a video that actually depicted a baleen whale gulping down food. As most everybody who pays any attention to this sort of thing knows, pretty much all of the big whales except the sperm whale are baleen feeders, meaning they have a huge filtering system which allows them to take in massive amounts of water and small fish, then filter out the water and keep the fish. I’ve heard this explained in textbooks, on documentaries, etc — but had never actually seen it up close until this video. Here is a diagram showing how it works:

In the video, when the whales breach, stop the video and go frame by frame. You’ll see thousands of terrified anchoves jumping in the second or so before the whales appear. You have to imagine these two huge beasts swimming fast deep below the surface, driving up, chasing the bait ball of anchovies until they have them pinned against the surface, then driving up and through the trapped fish with their huge mouths wide open. Pretty cool.

Here are a series of still frames from the video:


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