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The largest recorded Orca

callmejoe9 Offline
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( This post was last modified: 04-19-2022, 02:29 AM by callmejoe9 )

(04-18-2022, 09:44 PM)GuateGojira Wrote:
(04-18-2022, 05:26 AM)callmejoe9 Wrote: Does anyone have the Handbook of Marine Mammal's volume 6, Second book of Dolphins and Porpoises @OrcaDaBest  posted a chart from the killer whale chapter and I know that source also cited the 5568kg male and 3810kg female. I wanted to see if there's any mentioning of where these whales were from as I wanted to note the region and potentially their ecotype

I only found it in Google books, but do not show all the pages. This is the relevant part and the complete table on the weights quoted, page 286-288-289 are just pictures, do not have any data:


*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author


I could not see the entire chapter, but these are the relevant pages. Sadly it do not say if the specimens are wild or captive, but this is all what I could found. Page 293 and after it are not available, not in my side at least. Disappointed

Thank you so very much! If they got weights this precise, I am willing to be these were likely captive or wild live-captured specimens, assuming these figures weren't pulled from one of Sleptsov's papers. In all likeliehood, I am going to leave these individuals unlabeled for their region. They're likely ENP or North Atlantic. I have some more data than I did last time. Almost done, just pulling some more data from a couple of more potential sources. As for the table, most of those museum labels are for West-coast, North American institutions, so I think it's reasonable to conclude that those weights belong to ENP specimens. Some of these weights, such as the 4554kg male, were in Bigg and Wolman's study and also cited in other literature.
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callmejoe9 Offline
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I made some progress... I think. I have one paper on the way that may give me a slice of Sleptsov's data. On the other end, I found one of the sources Mikhalev cited that contained some other killer whale weighings. It's Sleptsov's chapter in a book called ''Marine Mammals''. I found it on Abebooks and just ordered it. It should be on the way.
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GuateGojira Offline
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#93

(04-19-2022, 09:29 AM)callmejoe9 Wrote: I made some progress... I think. I have one paper on the way that may give me a slice of Sleptsov's data. On the other end, I found one of the sources Mikhalev cited that contained some other killer whale weighings. It's Sleptsov's chapter in a book called ''Marine Mammals''. I found it on Abebooks and just ordered it. It should be on the way.

Magnificent! Thank you for your effort.
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callmejoe9 Offline
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( This post was last modified: 04-20-2022, 08:33 AM by callmejoe9 )

(04-19-2022, 09:29 AM)callmejoe9 Wrote: I made some progress... I think. I have one paper on the way that may give me a slice of Sleptsov's data. On the other end, I found one of the sources Mikhalev cited that contained some other killer whale weighings. It's Sleptsov's chapter in a book called ''Marine Mammals''. I found it on Abebooks and just ordered it. It should be on the way.

So one of the papers was a bit of a bust. Eurekamag did have the source I needed, but refunded me as copyright policies only enabled me to the title page and table of contents. On the other end, I just sent those pages to one of my friends who live in Alaska. A local library apparently has a  bunch of Russian papers and she thinks they have what I need. The book is still on the way and I have trust in it. A few days ago, I did happen to find Tomilin's 1962 book of whales. Here, he cites two whales from Sleptsov's data. A 5.4/2012kg female and a 6.5m/3270kg male. Both caught off Kuril Islands I currently have them labeled as the ''WNP'' region. I labeled both as WNP. In Sleptsov's papers, I may find the alleged 8,000kg individual, which I suspect to be of the Bigg's ecotype. In the book that's on the way, his weight data will likely be composed of Southern hemisphere. Since I already have 2 whales, the remaining collection will add 10. AFAIK, the 43 whales Mikhalev weighed were/are unpublished, so unless I manage to get into personal communication with him, I am out of luck there. Nonetheless, if I can at least get Sleptsov's data, I'll be satisfied.
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callmejoe9 Offline
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( This post was last modified: 04-23-2022, 06:18 AM by callmejoe9 )

Okay, so this will be my final update in the meantime. The book arrived today. While a neat find, doesn't contain the same articles as the 1965 edition. I recently contacted the Smithsonian libraries and a Maritime library in San Fransisco to help me out as both these institutions have what I need. It seems these books have copyright that prevents our access online (Gonna fix that one day, I swear). In case I don't get a timely response or help from either, I am making a trip to D.C. to visit a family member next month. I'll be able to physically go there and read those books. I don't comprehend Russian, but I have enough contextual knowledge to where I can recognize Sleptov's name and recognize when lengths and weights are being discussed. I am going to document everything once I am there and come back. ( I am not just doing this for just this thread, weight-length regressions for cetaceans are my general hobby/research goal). Until then, here's what I have now since I don't want my own ambitions to leave the rest of you guys in the dark.

My current regression for all my specimens is precisely  0.0000689573252146858(Length)^2.75338179157342; N=74; R^2=0.9428

However, for my final analysis, I aimed to do a series of sub-category regressions for varying factors like living status (wild vs captive), regional varation, and ecotype variation. I consider my current dataset incomplete without Sleptsov's data as he likely had specimens from both North Pacific and Southern hemisphere orcas.

At these parameters, a typical male of 6.5-7.6m is 3,834kg-5896kg for my regression; 3689kg-5519kg for Bigg and Wolman; 4,475kg-7,084kg from Mikhalev's. Mikhalev's dataset is likely full of heavier individuals ( I will expand on this once my dataset is complete so I can do subcategory regressions).

For a maximum-sized male of 945cm (Nishikawi and Handa, 1958) I have 10,742kg for mine, 9,677kg for B&W, and 13,436 for Mikhalev's.



Max/Min

245cm,239kg / 860cm, 9,900kg 


Sex breakdown

Male (N= 32)

Female (N=42)

Regional breakdown

ENP (N=48)

WNP (N=11)

North Atlantic ( N=7)

Southern Hemisphere (6)

Unknown (N=2)


Here's what I have for specimens of known ecotype

Transient (N=9)

Residents (N=6)

N.Atlantic Type 1 (N=7)


 All of the transients were from the Yamada 2007 Paper, they were genetically confirmed to be Transients. It's very likely that most of the whales from the Bigg and Wolman paper were likely residents, but I couldn't be 100%. The residents I did ID were whales whom were named in their respective paper so I could confirm the individual's identity. All the North Altantics (aside Tilikum) were from Kastelein's series of papers of captive indviduals. I also categorized the captive individuals: Born wild, Live capture ; Born Wild, matured captive ; Born captive. In earlier papers by Griffin, Burgess, and Newman, whales were directly named. In newer papers by Best and Kastelein, the whale's names were kept anonymous, but some of these I was able to definitely ID. Here's their documented length and weights for these whales.

Moby Doll- 467cm, 1040kg.

Namu-660cm,3600kg

Shamu 1- She's in the regression at multiple points in here life, largest of these was 450cm and 1358kg

A whale not directly named, but most likely Skana based on her size and year, 4.7m and 1136kg.

Tanouk- 5.6m, 2900kg

Tilikum- 6.9m, 5318kg at the estimated age of 27.

For Bigg and Wolman's paper, I approximated each data point with a high-res screesnhot, a slight rotation and measured each point precisely at the center using pixel count. Using specimens from this sample cited in other literate, I can confirm all lengths are within 1-2cm and those with larger weights (>1000kg) are within 99% accuracy. Since both the 50cm and 1000kg increments were 400pixels, the kilograms were likely off on the order of a few 10kgs. This will affect calves more than approximations for mature adults.


Sources
Best, Meÿer, Thornton, M., Kotze, D., Seakamela, M., Hofmeyr, G., Wintner, Weland, & Steinke, D. (2014). Confirmation of the occurrence of a second killer whale morphotype in South African waters. African Journal of Marine Science, 36. https://doi.org/10.2989/1814232X.2014.923783

Bigg, M. A., & Wolman, A. A. (1975). Live-Capture Killer Whale (Orcinus orca) Fishery, British Columbia and Washington, 1962–73. Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada, 32(7), 1213–1221. https://doi.org/10.1139/f75-140

The behaviour and training of a Killer whale Orcinus orca at San Diego Sea World—BURGESS - 1968—International Zoo Yearbook—Wiley Online Library. (n.d.). Retrieved April 21, 2022, from https://zslpublications.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1748-1090.1968.tb00484.x

DAHLHEIM, M. E., AND J. E. HEYNING. 1999. Killer whale Orcinus orca (Linnaeus, 1758). Pages 281–322 in S. H. Ridgway and R. Harrison, eds. Handbook of marine mammals, Volume 6. Academic Press, San Diego, CA.

Gambell R, Best PB, Rice DW. 1975. Report on the international Indian Ocean whale marking cruise 24 November 1973– 3 February 1974. Reports of the International Whaling Commission 25: 240–252.

Griffin, E. I., & Goldsberry, D. G. (1968). Notes on the capture, care and feeding of the Killer whale Orcinus orca at Seattle Aquarium. International Zoo Yearbook, 8(1), 206–208. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1748-1090.1968.tb00485.x

Hewlett, K. G., & Newman, M. A. (1968). ‘Skana’, the Killer whale Orcinus orca at Vancouver Public Aquarium. International Zoo Yearbook, 8(1), 209–211. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1748-1090.1968.tb00486.x

Heyning, J. E., & Dahlheim, M. E. (1988). Orcinus orca. Mammalian Species, 304, 1–9. https://doi.org/10.2307/3504225

Kastelein, R., & Vaughan, N. (1989). Food consumption, body measurements and weight changes of a female killer whale (Orcinus orca). Aquatic Mammals, 15, 18–21.

Kastelein, R., Walton, S., Odell, D., Nieuwstraten, S., & Wiepkema, P. (2000). Food consumption of a captive female killer whale (Orcinus orca). Aquatic Mammals, 26.

Kastelein, R., KERSHAW, J., BERGHOUT, E., & WIEPKEMA, P. (2007). Food consumption and suckling in Killer whales (Orcinus orca) at Marineland Antibes. International Zoo Yearbook, 38, 204–218. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1748-1090.2003.tb02081.x

Mikhalev, Y. (2019). Analysis of the Correlation Between Whale Length and Weight. In Y. Mikhalev (Ed.), Whales of the Southern Ocean: Biology, Whaling and Perspectives of Population Recovery (pp. 31–62). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-29252-2_2
Partial catalog of cetacean osteological specimens in Russian museums. (n.d.). Retrieved April 21, 2022, from https://repository.library.noaa.gov/view/noaa/3475

Sergeant, D. E. (1969). Feeding rates of cetacea. S. 246-258. https://imr.brage.unit.no/imr-xmlui/handle/11250/114686

Sleptsov MM (1961) The weighing results of large and small cetaceans caught in the Far East. Proceedings IMEZh USSR Academy of Sciences. Issue 34, Moscow, pp 144– 150

Wood, G. L. (1976). The Guinness book of animal facts and feats. Guinness Superlatives.
Yamada TK, Uni Y, Amano M et al (2007) Biological indicesobtained from a pod of killer whales entrapped by sea ice offnorthern Japan. Paper SC/59/SM12 presented to the ScientificCommittee, International Whaling Commission, Anchorage
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abadu Offline
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(01-31-2022, 08:09 PM)GuateGojira Wrote:
(09-03-2020, 05:03 AM)GuateGojira Wrote: Body size of the orca (different populations):
 
When this topic was created very few information was available and must of us only used the often repeated statements in the web. However, through the investigation and with the help of other posters I manage to found more information, which helped me to dig even more on this topic. At the end, I manage to found a good amount of sources and records from several areas that shows that orcas are as diverse as other animal populations, like tigers for example. The only difference is that officially there are not subspecies stated and only one species is recognized. So, based in the information that I found I can make this summary.
 
Before to start we must take in count these facts:
The sexual maturity of the males is at around 15 years old, although they do not start actually breeding until 21 years; the maturity is also reached when specimens measure over 6 meters in length. For females, the sexual maturity reaches at 10 years but may start breeding normally until 20 years old; the length of mature females is normally over 5.5 meters long.
 
This information was obtained from Best et al. (2010), Ward et al. (2019) and Cawardine (2001). Best et al. (2010) focused his report of orcas from South Africa. However, during the investigation, I found that some specimens were classified as “adults” at smaller lengths, probably because like any other animals, there are short ones that are adults and shorter ones that are still young, so this must not surprise us.
 
1 – Southern hemisphere:
Specimens from the southern hemisphere are now classified in five groups, however this was not the case in the old days of whaling and many of the samples have mixed specimens and only with the efforts of Biologist that studied that information we can get a more or less good idea of the size of those populations.
 
Mikhalev et al. (1981) presented a very good sample of orcas hunted in the Antarctica region, and based in Pitman et al. (2007) it seems that these orcas belong to the Type A, arguably the biggest orca population at this moment (on average at least). The presented figures are these:
* Males: Average 726 cm – n=205 – range: 450 – 900 cm.
* Females: Average 642 cm – n=118 – range= 370 – 770 cm.
It is clear that some immature specimens were included in the lower ranges, which means that the overall average may be somewhat bigger, probably over 750 cm in males and over 650 cm in females, but that is just speculation.
 
Also Mikhalev et al. (1981) reported average figures for males and females, depending of the regions, but the difference is no more than 35 cm (practically nothing in animals of over 6 meters of length) and the issue that the four forms were not separated completely separated, makes this differences irrelevant, and also by the fact that most, if not all the specimens are probably of type A, as Pitman mentioned.
 
There is no clear information about the difference of the Type B (large and small forms), so they are just estimated to be smaller than the Type A and bigger than Type C.
 
Now, about Type C/Ross Sea, Pitman et al. (2007) presented an study using photogrammetry and he got the following measurements:
* Males: Average 560 cm – n=64 – range: 490 – 610 cm.
* Females: Average 520 cm – n=33 – range= 460 – 580 cm.
 
At this moment, this is the smallest population known, it predates mainly in fish.
 
Finally about the Type D, I could not found any information, but probably is about the same size than the small form of Type B.
 
Best et al. (2010) made a full study about the orca population in South Africa, and based in the measurements these are probably from the Type A, he did not presented averages, but mode and ranges, here are the results:
* Males: Range from 290 to 881 cm – n=37 – mode between 750 to 799 cm.
* Females: Range from 300 to 790 – n=16 – mode between 650 to 699 cm.
This means that the average length will be between 770 cm in males and 670 cm in females, close to the figures reported by Mikhalev et al. (1981).
 
Under this investigation and taking over 470 specimens measured, the biggest male recorded in this area was of 900 cm and the biggest female of 770 cm. Skinner & Chimimba (2006) quote it as 910 cm in males and 760 cm in females, but that is an error. COSEWIC (2008) Baird (2002) quotes these specimens as the biggest reliably recorded and quote the correct figures from Mikhalev et al. (1981)
 
About weights I could found only 4 figures, two males (one probably immature based in the measurements):
1 - Length of 482 cm and weight of 1,434 kg.
2 - Length of 593 cm and weight of 3,166 kg.
Both specimens were from the southwest region of the Indian Ocean (Skinner & Chimimba, 2006).
 
There is a record from “Old Tom” from New Zealand that measured 670 cm in total length, Wikipedia says that it weighed 6,000 kg, but with my best efforts, I could not found any source with this figure. The final came from a male of 8,000 kg from Tomilin (1967; in Skinner & Chimimba, 2006), although it seems an estimation and the fact that I could not found the original source, Tomilin also is used for other information about the oil amount obtained from orcas in the Antarctic, which suggest that this could be based in a real figure too.
 
2 - Northern hemisphere
From the northern hemisphere we have other studies and not from few specimens. Modern studies present three types in the Pacific and two in the Atlantic. The north Pacific population is the must studied of all, specifically the resident ones. One of the best books of orcas (“Orca the whale called killer”, from Erich Hoyt in 1981 and other subsequent editions) is about this population.
 
Duffield & Miller (1988) mention the following ranges:
* Males: 650 – 750 cm – n=17
* Females: 580 – 640 cm – n=20
However these ranges are a mix of wild-caught specimens in the Pacific coasts of Canada and USA its subsequent growing in captivity, so they are not useful for comparison. The big male of 750 cm reached that size after some years in captivity.
 
Fearnbach et al. (2011), using photogrammetry got a good sample of animals and several re-measurements of the same specimens, all from the coasts of the Washington state, USA. Using this data, they got an asymptotic average of 6.9 +/- 0.2 m in adult males and 6.0 +/- 0.1 m in adult females. The longest male measured 720 cm and the longest female. Now, using the measurements in the Table one I got the following averages:
* Males over 15 years old: Average 623 cm – n=10 – range: 500 – 720 cm.
* Females over 10 years old: Average 593 cm – n=38 – range= 370 – 640 cm.
These averages seems smaller because some specimens were smaller than the figures reported by Best et al. (2010) for mature specimens, but correspond to the ages of sexual maturity reported by Ward et al. (2019) and Cawardine (2001), showing that the resident orcas from the north Pacific are smaller than those from Type A from South Africa.  
 
Hoyt (2013; reedition of 1981) reported that from 16 adults stranded in the Vancouver Island in 1945, the males average less than 23 ft (7 m) and the females less than 20 ft (6.1 m). And Fing (2016) reported the maximum lengths from males in the region at:
* Resident males: Up to 701 cm – n=38.
* Transient (Bigg’s) males: 760 cm – n=20.
*Offshore males: 620 cm – n=12.
 
Based in the study of Fing (2016), the transient orcas are bigger than all the populations, while the residents are bigger than the offshore, although the difference is not too big no average. Take in count that the sample mix males and females and even then, the ranges in the transient orcas are bigger in all the cases.
 
On the other side of the Pacific we found another large sample from the waters of Japan. The study came from Nishiwaki & Handa (1958), but as I was unable to found the original source I used Heptner et al. (1996) and checking other sources where this Japanese study is used the quote from the Russian source is accurate. The values presented are:
* Males: Average 640 cm – n=320 – range: Max 945 cm – Mode between 550 – 760 cm.
* Females: Average 610 cm – n=247 – range= Max 823 cm – Mode between 550 – 670 cm.
This sample shows animals that on average are smaller than the Type A from Antarctica, but the maximum figures are higher. Now, based in the average and the fact that the authors said that most of the kills of this orcas were fish, we can guess that these orcas are probably offshore populations, but the same authors also said that the biggest orcas feed on mammals, which is a characteristic of the Transient ones, so probably we have a mix of populations here, but as far I checked, not even Pitman et al. (2007) presented a clarification on this.
 
Under this investigation and taking almost 670 specimens measured, the biggest male recorded in this area was of 945 cm and the biggest female of 823 cm, both from Japan. In North America the biggest male reached 760 cm in the transient population.
 
On the weights, I got two specimens from Japan and two from USA/Alaska Pacific coast:
* Male: 765 cm in length – 6,600 kg – Japan.
* Female: 658 cm in length – 4,700 kg – Japan.
* Male: 604 cm in length – 4,000 kg – North America.
* Female: 635 cm in length – 3,100 kg – North America.
Sources: COSEWIC (2008 - Japan) and Heyning & Dahlheim (1988 – North America).
 
From the population of the North Atlantic, there are two types, both in the Eastern area. The studies are available, one from Jonsgard & Lynshoel (1970) and other from Christensen (1984). While I could not found the study of Christensen, I did found the one from Jonsgard & Lynshoel, both studies were made in the Norwegian region and Iceland.
 
The study of Jonsgard & Lynshoel (1970), from a sample of 1413, shows the following data:
From 891 males, the mode is of 670 cm (group of 135 specimens). Also from this sample only 4 specimens exceeded 30 ft (920 cm), the largest was of 32 ft (980 cm).
From 494 females, the mode is of 579 cm (group of 84 specimens). Also from this sample only 2 specimens exceeded 26 ft (790 cm), the largest was of 28 ft (850 cm).
 
Now, the study itself clarify that some of those measurements are actually estimations and they found that the deviation between the real measurements and the estimations made was +/- 2 feet (61 cm). However, the fact that most are estimation can’t be ruled out and Baird (2002) reported that those two extreme measurements (980 cm for male and 850 cm for female) are not real measurements.  Finally Hoyt (2013) put the final stone in the grave, corroborating that the biggest orcas on record are a male of 31.5 ft (960 cm) and an estimated weight of 9 tons, while the biggest female was of 27 ft (820 cm) and an estimated weight between 5 to 6 tons, both specimens from Japan; interestingly these are the same maximum figures quoted by Nowak (1999) in Walker’s Mammals of the World.
 
Check this graphic from Jonsgard & Lynshoel (1970), showing all the specimens, probably the average will be about the same than that of the Antarctic Type A, if we include the other adult specimens:
 
*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author
 
The information that I got from Christensen (1984) came from AMMPA (2017) and Guinet & Bouvier (1995). It only mentions that the average male measure between 580 to 670 cm, while the average female is between 490 to 580 cm, with a maximum of 700 cm. Until I found the original source I can’t provide other details.
 
I could not found any weight from this area, but certainly the Eastern North Atlantic Type 2 is one of the biggest orcas, and may match the Antarctic Type A. However the issue here is that the record male and female are not real measurements but estimations and there is a possibility that the male and female could have measured as low as 919 cm and 789 cm respectively. Interestingly the biggest orca from this region, accepted by Pitman et al (2007) is a male of 920 cm from Norway.
 
Conclusion:
In the Antarctic region, the biggest male recorded was of 900 cm and the biggest female of 770 cm. From the North Pacific region the biggest male recorded of 945 cm and the biggest female of 823 cm, both from Japan; in North America the biggest male reached 760 cm in the transient population. And from the North Atlantic, the biggest male recorded of 980 cm and the biggest female of 850 cm, but both could be a low as 919 cm and 789 cm respectively as were estimations. However let’s remember that Jonsgard & Lynshoel (1970) found that from 1413 specimens only 6 specimens surpassed the 30 ft and the 27 ft, so the existence of this large specimens is comparably rare, while normally most of the specimens of the large populations (Antarctic Type A and Pacific Type 2) will be over 7 meters in males and 6 in females, like Hoyt (2013) believed. The smaller population, Type C of Antarctic, with 560 cm in males and 520 cm in females, represent the lowest values, and all the other populations range between these figures.
 
About the weights, all the specimens that we have are below the averages except one (male of 765 cm and 6,600 kg), which means that an average male will weigh about 6,000 kg and an average female about 4,000 kg.
 
So just by mere curiosity, applying the isometric escalations that we have used for other mammals, and using the few specimens available with actual measurements and weights (4 males and 2 females), the figures that I got for the largest specimens are these:
 
Male 900 cm – 11,096 kg
Female 770 cm – 6,529.5 kg
Male 945 cm – 12,845 kg
Female 823 cm – 7,972.7 kg
Male 980 cm – 14,325.8 kg
Female 850 cm – 8,783.4 kg
 
Personally I think that in this case the figures are too high, especially by the fact that the maximum weights normally quoted range between 8,000 kg to 10,000 kg in males and between 5,000 to 6,000 kg in females. But this just gives an idea of how heavy an orca may be.
 
So this is the summary about all the sized and weights of wild orcas that I could found, hope this help to clarify the question.
 
Greetings to all.

Here I present my image of the size of the male orca from the "Type A" from Antartica, arguably the largest orcas in these days. 

*This image is copyright of its original author


Hope you like it.

Greetings to all.

Hello everyone, my name is Miguel, I'm a biologist, currently taking a masters in Biostatistics, and have been working with wild marine mammals in Southern Portugal for the past year and a half, including orcas. The orcas here are small, so they don't help witht the question of the largest, but with a 5.17m and 2000kg stranded female, maybe it will help with someone's regression.

In terms of information, I've compiled some measurements of orcas in recent times that were confirmed by scientists. I'm going to talk about antarctic type A, B1, B2 and C, as no information regarding type D was found. ENP Residents and Transients, and finally some animals from museums in the North Atlantic. After all of that I'll give my own personal opinion, which is worth as much as any. Hope I'm helping with the discussion

From Size and body condition of sympatric killer whale ecotypes around the Antarctic Peninsula, Durban et al. (2021)

Type A
Male: 7.80m +/- 0.61m, n=6, max=8.92m
Female: 6.76m +/- 0.09m, n=10, max is unspecified, under but close to 7m

Type B1
Male: 7.58m +/- 0.29m, n=3, max is unspecified, under but close to 8m
Female: 6.93m +/- 0.35m, n=6, max=7.35m

Type B2
Male: 6.44m +/- 0.22m, n= 24, max is unspecified, several under 7m but over 6.5m
Female: 5.82m +/- 0.21m, n=35, max is unspecified, over 6m

In this study they also found out that B2's were the skinniest of the three ecotypes, which may reflect ecotype variation as well as a population close to carrying capacity


In A Dwarf Form of Killer Whale in Antarctica, Pitman et al. (2007), we get size estimates for Type C's and is also noted a maximum size for the Type A's in the southern Ocean of 9.2m in the abstract and later of 9.0m for males, it's mentioned that female type A's reach 7.7m and are on average 6.4m.

Type C
Male: 5.6m +/- 0.32m, n=65, max=6.1m
Female: 5.2m +/- 0.23m, n=33, max=5.8m


In Morphometrics of mammal-eating killer whales from drone photogrammetry, with comparison to sympatric fish-eating killer whales in the Eastern North Pacific, Kotik et al. (2021), transients and residents were compared, here I'll use this article only for the transients, as they are showed with much greater detail. It's also worth mentioning that this study focuses on Transients from the Salish sea to Vancouver Island, and it may not reflect the Californian transient population, neither the transients from the WN Pacific.

Transients
Male: 7.3m +/- 0.22m, n=12, max=8.3m
Female: 6.4m +/- 0.10m, n=26, max=7.1m



In SIZE AND BODY CONDITION OF SOUTHERN RESIDENT KILLER WHALES, Durban et al. (2009) they studied, as the name implies the southern resident kw population

Southern Residents
Male: 6.76m, range=6.46-7.25m
Female: 6.01m, range=5.50-6.44m



In Ecological, morphological and genetic divergence of sympatric North Atlantic killer whale populations, Foote et al. (2009) analysed several museum specimens, with three that stand out in terms of size, the maximum size excluding these three is 6.6m, which is in line with what is known from the previously called ecotype ENA Type 1. Two of these three specimens come form Scotland (perhaps they were from the same population as the West Coast community) and one came from the Faroes Islands, and were 7.92m and 8.45m for the Scottish and 8.10m for the Faroese.
I didn't find any more reliable and relevant information from the North Atlantic.

Final Thoughts
Male KWs
In my opinion, it's reasonable to assume a maximum body lenght of 9m+ for the species, specially in Antarctic type A individuals, as one of the sampled ones was a 8.92m. The claim that is in Pitman et al. (2007) abstract of a 9.2m male Type A, seems reasonable and likely to be the case. Wouldn't be surprised if in the future, males even greater in lenght were to be found in this population. Their average size is also relatively close to the B1's, with a 0.22m diference, which may be explained by the low numbers of sampled individuals for both ecotypes. Taking that into account, I can't rule out that B1's may also grow greater than 8m and possibly to 9. I think it's safe to rule out B2's and C's, as they are among the smallest KW ecotypes, with the average type A being 1.36m and 2.2m longer than the average of each. Also both of their maximum sizes are smaller than the smallest male A. It's also safe to rule out Residents, or at least the southern Residents, as their maximum size is still smaller than the average Type A and B1, and along the same as the average Transient. Speaking of Transients, the 7.3m asymptopic lenght and a 8.3m maximum, supports them as being around the same size as the type A's and B1 and I wouldn't be surprised if there were males close to 9m or above. The 3 animals in the North Atlantic also support possible 8-9m KW in the area, and since the West Coast community is known to have animals bigger than those from other populations, and are also in the same are as two out of three of this big ones, they seem like good candidates for being amongst the biggest KW, morphometric analysis of John Coe and Aquarius need to happen in order to confirm that. The figures from whaling data of 9.2m in the southern ocean, 9.45m in the Pacific and 9.8m in the North Atlantic have now different support. I would say the Southern Ocean one is most likely accurate or the one that seems most probable to be accurate, based on the measurements cited above. The 9.45m is possible, but without any measurements from the Western North Pacific, I can't formulate a strong opinion, plus, we also don't have that much data on other Transient Killer whales, as some individuals like Lonesome George have been given estimates of 9.2-10m (30-33ft), despite not being confirmed. Finally, the biggest figure is also the one I find the hardest to believe, if the 9.8m figure came from the Southern Ocean, I'd rethink it, but still take it with a grain of salt, plus it has been said that the size was estimated and not measured so I wouldn't consider it reliable at all. In conclusion, I would say the saffest bet for the largest KW on record is 9-9.2m.
Female KWs
In previous posts on this thread, some figures in the Southern Hemisphere have poped up, like a 7.9m female from South Africa and the 7.7m long female type A's. I find it hard to believe that Type A females would reach 7.7-7.9m, taking into account the measurements presented before. 7.7-7.9m is much closer to the maximum registered size of confirmed B1 which has a 7.36m long female, taking into account that the biggest A in the study was less than 7m long. The only females close to B1 are transients with a maximum of 7.1m. No female of exceptional size was mentioned in the study in the North Atlantic, as the biggest was 6.1m, which, for me makes the claim of a 8.5m female in the North Atlantic seem unreasonable. With this, I would atribute the biggest females to the B1's and probably the 7.7-7.9m figures come from that ecotype, based on the present information, although I'd be more conservative and assume a maximum size of around 7.5m for females

Thanks for all the info everyone as managed to collect, this thread is really interesting, and I hope I managed to give new insights to some of you
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Matias Offline
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#97

Hello @abadu , taking the opportunity to talk to a biologist.

I remember reading a 2020 report on orcas attacking boats (their rudders) off the coasts of Portugal and Spain. Would you like to know your opinion about these “so-called attacks”? And how is the ecological situation in the region, after restrictive fishing measures seem to have improved the quantity of bluefin tuna?

'I've never seen or heard of attacks': scientists baffled by orcas harassing boats


Thanks.
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peter Offline
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#98

ABADU

Welcome to Wildfact! Your first contribution was interesting. We can most certainly use someone with access to good information interested in orcas. Hope your stay will be interesting. On behalf of all,

Peter.
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GuateGojira Offline
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#99

(04-22-2022, 08:34 AM)callmejoe9 Wrote: Okay, so this will be my final update in the meantime. The book arrived today. While a neat find, doesn't contain the same articles as the 1965 edition. I recently contacted the Smithsonian libraries and a Maritime library in San Fransisco to help me out as both these institutions have what I need. It seems these books have copyright that prevents our access online (Gonna fix that one day, I swear). In case I don't get a timely response or help from either, I am making a trip to D.C. to visit a family member next month. I'll be able to physically go there and read those books. I don't comprehend Russian, but I have enough contextual knowledge to where I can recognize Sleptov's name and recognize when lengths and weights are being discussed. I am going to document everything once I am there and come back. ( I am not just doing this for just this thread, weight-length regressions for cetaceans are my general hobby/research goal). Until then, here's what I have now since I don't want my own ambitions to leave the rest of you guys in the dark.

My current regression for all my specimens is precisely  0.0000689573252146858(Length)^2.75338179157342; N=74; R^2=0.9428




However, for my final analysis, I aimed to do a series of sub-category regressions for varying factors like living status (wild vs captive), regional varation, and ecotype variation. I consider my current dataset incomplete without Sleptsov's data as he likely had specimens from both North Pacific and Southern hemisphere orcas.

At these parameters, a typical male of 6.5-7.6m is 3,834kg-5896kg for my regression; 3689kg-5519kg for Bigg and Wolman; 4,475kg-7,084kg from Mikhalev's. Mikhalev's dataset is likely full of heavier individuals ( I will expand on this once my dataset is complete so I can do subcategory regressions).

For a maximum-sized male of 945cm (Nishikawi and Handa, 1958) I have 10,742kg for mine, 9,677kg for B&W, and 13,436 for Mikhalev's.



Max/Min

245cm,239kg / 860cm, 9,900kg 


Sex breakdown

Male (N= 32)

Female (N=42)

Regional breakdown

ENP (N=48)

WNP (N=11)

North Atlantic ( N=7)

Southern Hemisphere (6)

Unknown (N=2)


Here's what I have for specimens of known ecotype

Transient (N=9)

Residents (N=6)

N.Atlantic Type 1 (N=7)


 All of the transients were from the Yamada 2007 Paper, they were genetically confirmed to be Transients. It's very likely that most of the whales from the Bigg and Wolman paper were likely residents, but I couldn't be 100%. The residents I did ID were whales whom were named in their respective paper so I could confirm the individual's identity. All the North Altantics (aside Tilikum) were from Kastelein's series of papers of captive indviduals. I also categorized the captive individuals: Born wild, Live capture ; Born Wild, matured captive ; Born captive. In earlier papers by Griffin, Burgess, and Newman, whales were directly named. In newer papers by Best and Kastelein, the whale's names were kept anonymous, but some of these I was able to definitely ID. Here's their documented length and weights for these whales.

Moby Doll- 467cm, 1040kg.

Namu-660cm,3600kg

Shamu 1- She's in the regression at multiple points in here life, largest of these was 450cm and 1358kg

A whale not directly named, but most likely Skana based on her size and year, 4.7m and 1136kg.

Tanouk- 5.6m, 2900kg

Tilikum- 6.9m, 5318kg at the estimated age of 27.

For Bigg and Wolman's paper, I approximated each data point with a high-res screesnhot, a slight rotation and measured each point precisely at the center using pixel count. Using specimens from this sample cited in other literate, I can confirm all lengths are within 1-2cm and those with larger weights (>1000kg) are within 99% accuracy. Since both the 50cm and 1000kg increments were 400pixels, the kilograms were likely off on the order of a few 10kgs. This will affect calves more than approximations for mature adults.


Sources
Best, Meÿer, Thornton, M., Kotze, D., Seakamela, M., Hofmeyr, G., Wintner, Weland, & Steinke, D. (2014). Confirmation of the occurrence of a second killer whale morphotype in South African waters. African Journal of Marine Science, 36. https://doi.org/10.2989/1814232X.2014.923783


Bigg, M. A., & Wolman, A. A. (1975). Live-Capture Killer Whale (Orcinus orca) Fishery, British Columbia and Washington, 1962–73. Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada, 32(7), 1213–1221. https://doi.org/10.1139/f75-140

The behaviour and training of a Killer whale Orcinus orca at San Diego Sea World—BURGESS - 1968—International Zoo Yearbook—Wiley Online Library. (n.d.). Retrieved April 21, 2022, from https://zslpublications.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1748-1090.1968.tb00484.x


DAHLHEIM, M. E., AND J. E. HEYNING. 1999. Killer whale Orcinus orca (Linnaeus, 1758). Pages 281–322 in S. H. Ridgway and R. Harrison, eds. Handbook of marine mammals, Volume 6. Academic Press, San Diego, CA.

Gambell R, Best PB, Rice DW. 1975. Report on the international Indian Ocean whale marking cruise 24 November 1973– 3 February 1974. Reports of the International Whaling Commission 25: 240–252.


Griffin, E. I., & Goldsberry, D. G. (1968). Notes on the capture, care and feeding of the Killer whale Orcinus orca at Seattle Aquarium. International Zoo Yearbook, 8(1), 206–208. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1748-1090.1968.tb00485.x

Hewlett, K. G., & Newman, M. A. (1968). ‘Skana’, the Killer whale Orcinus orca at Vancouver Public Aquarium. International Zoo Yearbook, 8(1), 209–211. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1748-1090.1968.tb00486.x

Heyning, J. E., & Dahlheim, M. E. (1988). Orcinus orca. Mammalian Species, 304, 1–9. https://doi.org/10.2307/3504225


Kastelein, R., & Vaughan, N. (1989). Food consumption, body measurements and weight changes of a female killer whale (Orcinus orca). Aquatic Mammals, 15, 18–21.

Kastelein, R., Walton, S., Odell, D., Nieuwstraten, S., & Wiepkema, P. (2000). Food consumption of a captive female killer whale (Orcinus orca). Aquatic Mammals, 26.

Kastelein, R., KERSHAW, J., BERGHOUT, E., & WIEPKEMA, P. (2007). Food consumption and suckling in Killer whales (Orcinus orca) at Marineland Antibes. International Zoo Yearbook, 38, 204–218. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1748-1090.2003.tb02081.x

Mikhalev, Y. (2019). Analysis of the Correlation Between Whale Length and Weight. In Y. Mikhalev (Ed.), Whales of the Southern Ocean: Biology, Whaling and Perspectives of Population Recovery (pp. 31–62). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-29252-2_2

Partial catalog of cetacean osteological specimens in Russian museums. (n.d.). Retrieved April 21, 2022, from https://repository.library.noaa.gov/view/noaa/3475

Sergeant, D. E. (1969). Feeding rates of cetacea. S. 246-258. https://imr.brage.unit.no/imr-xmlui/handle/11250/114686

Sleptsov MM (1961) The weighing results of large and small cetaceans caught in the Far East. Proceedings IMEZh USSR Academy of Sciences. Issue 34, Moscow, pp 144– 150

Wood, G. L. (1976). The Guinness book of animal facts and feats. Guinness Superlatives.

Yamada TK, Uni Y, Amano M et al (2007) Biological indicesobtained from a pod of killer whales entrapped by sea ice offnorthern Japan. Paper SC/59/SM12 presented to the ScientificCommittee, International Whaling Commission, Anchorage

Hi again, time without seeing you around here. Do you have new information at hand?
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GuateGojira Offline
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(10-19-2022, 07:44 PM)abadu Wrote: Hello everyone, my name is Miguel, I'm a biologist, currently taking a masters in Biostatistics, and have been working with wild marine mammals in Southern Portugal for the past year and a half, including orcas. The orcas here are small, so they don't help witht the question of the largest, but with a 5.17m and 2000kg stranded female, maybe it will help with someone's regression.

In terms of information, I've compiled some measurements of orcas in recent times that were confirmed by scientists. I'm going to talk about antarctic type A, B1, B2 and C, as no information regarding type D was found. ENP Residents and Transients, and finally some animals from museums in the North Atlantic. After all of that I'll give my own personal opinion, which is worth as much as any. Hope I'm helping with the discussion




From Size and body condition of sympatric killer whale ecotypes around the Antarctic Peninsula, Durban et al. (2021)

Type A
Male: 7.80m +/- 0.61m, n=6, max=8.92m
Female: 6.76m +/- 0.09m, n=10, max is unspecified, under but close to 7m

Type B1
Male: 7.58m +/- 0.29m, n=3, max is unspecified, under but close to 8m
Female: 6.93m +/- 0.35m, n=6, max=7.35m

Type B2
Male: 6.44m +/- 0.22m, n= 24, max is unspecified, several under 7m but over 6.5m
Female: 5.82m +/- 0.21m, n=35, max is unspecified, over 6m

In this study they also found out that B2's were the skinniest of the three ecotypes, which may reflect ecotype variation as well as a population close to carrying capacity


In A Dwarf Form of Killer Whale in Antarctica, Pitman et al. (2007), we get size estimates for Type C's and is also noted a maximum size for the Type A's in the southern Ocean of 9.2m in the abstract and later of 9.0m for males, it's mentioned that female type A's reach 7.7m and are on average 6.4m.

Type C
Male: 5.6m +/- 0.32m, n=65, max=6.1m
Female: 5.2m +/- 0.23m, n=33, max=5.8m


In Morphometrics of mammal-eating killer whales from drone photogrammetry, with comparison to sympatric fish-eating killer whales in the Eastern North Pacific, Kotik et al. (2021), transients and residents were compared, here I'll use this article only for the transients, as they are showed with much greater detail. It's also worth mentioning that this study focuses on Transients from the Salish sea to Vancouver Island, and it may not reflect the Californian transient population, neither the transients from the WN Pacific.

Transients
Male: 7.3m +/- 0.22m, n=12, max=8.3m
Female: 6.4m +/- 0.10m, n=26, max=7.1m



In SIZE AND BODY CONDITION OF SOUTHERN RESIDENT KILLER WHALES, Durban et al. (2009) they studied, as the name implies the southern resident kw population

Southern Residents
Male: 6.76m, range=6.46-7.25m
Female: 6.01m, range=5.50-6.44m



In Ecological, morphological and genetic divergence of sympatric North Atlantic killer whale populations, Foote et al. (2009) analysed several museum specimens, with three that stand out in terms of size, the maximum size excluding these three is 6.6m, which is in line with what is known from the previously called ecotype ENA Type 1. Two of these three specimens come form Scotland (perhaps they were from the same population as the West Coast community) and one came from the Faroes Islands, and were 7.92m and 8.45m for the Scottish and 8.10m for the Faroese.
I didn't find any more reliable and relevant information from the North Atlantic.

Final Thoughts
Male KWs
In my opinion, it's reasonable to assume a maximum body lenght of 9m+ for the species, specially in Antarctic type A individuals, as one of the sampled ones was a 8.92m. The claim that is in Pitman et al. (2007) abstract of a 9.2m male Type A, seems reasonable and likely to be the case. Wouldn't be surprised if in the future, males even greater in lenght were to be found in this population. Their average size is also relatively close to the B1's, with a 0.22m diference, which may be explained by the low numbers of sampled individuals for both ecotypes. Taking that into account, I can't rule out that B1's may also grow greater than 8m and possibly to 9. I think it's safe to rule out B2's and C's, as they are among the smallest KW ecotypes, with the average type A being 1.36m and 2.2m longer than the average of each. Also both of their maximum sizes are smaller than the smallest male A. It's also safe to rule out Residents, or at least the southern Residents, as their maximum size is still smaller than the average Type A and B1, and along the same as the average Transient. Speaking of Transients, the 7.3m asymptopic lenght and a 8.3m maximum, supports them as being around the same size as the type A's and B1 and I wouldn't be surprised if there were males close to 9m or above. The 3 animals in the North Atlantic also support possible 8-9m KW in the area, and since the West Coast community is known to have animals bigger than those from other populations, and are also in the same are as two out of three of this big ones, they seem like good candidates for being amongst the biggest KW, morphometric analysis of John Coe and Aquarius need to happen in order to confirm that. The figures from whaling data of 9.2m in the southern ocean, 9.45m in the Pacific and 9.8m in the North Atlantic have now different support. I would say the Southern Ocean one is most likely accurate or the one that seems most probable to be accurate, based on the measurements cited above. The 9.45m is possible, but without any measurements from the Western North Pacific, I can't formulate a strong opinion, plus, we also don't have that much data on other Transient Killer whales, as some individuals like Lonesome George have been given estimates of 9.2-10m (30-33ft), despite not being confirmed. Finally, the biggest figure is also the one I find the hardest to believe, if the 9.8m figure came from the Southern Ocean, I'd rethink it, but still take it with a grain of salt, plus it has been said that the size was estimated and not measured so I wouldn't consider it reliable at all. In conclusion, I would say the saffest bet for the largest KW on record is 9-9.2m.
Female KWs
In previous posts on this thread, some figures in the Southern Hemisphere have poped up, like a 7.9m female from South Africa and the 7.7m long female type A's. I find it hard to believe that Type A females would reach 7.7-7.9m, taking into account the measurements presented before. 7.7-7.9m is much closer to the maximum registered size of confirmed B1 which has a 7.36m long female, taking into account that the biggest A in the study was less than 7m long. The only females close to B1 are transients with a maximum of 7.1m. No female of exceptional size was mentioned in the study in the North Atlantic, as the biggest was 6.1m, which, for me makes the claim of a 8.5m female in the North Atlantic seem unreasonable. With this, I would atribute the biggest females to the B1's and probably the 7.7-7.9m figures come from that ecotype, based on the present information, although I'd be more conservative and assume a maximum size of around 7.5m for females

Thanks for all the info everyone as managed to collect, this thread is really interesting, and I hope I managed to give new insights to some of you

Hi, and welcome to the forum.

Magnificent information, we really appreciate it. Your analysis is very good and help us to understand the body size that this magnificent animal can reach.

Thank you for sharing it.
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abadu Offline
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(10-25-2022, 06:28 PM)Matias Wrote: Hello @abadu , taking the opportunity to talk to a biologist.

I remember reading a 2020 report on orcas attacking boats (their rudders) off the coasts of Portugal and Spain. Would you like to know your opinion about these “so-called attacks”? And how is the ecological situation in the region, after restrictive fishing measures seem to have improved the quantity of bluefin tuna?

'I've never seen or heard of attacks': scientists baffled by orcas harassing boats


Thanks.

In regards to the orca interactions in this area, these are a recent event. We still don't know why they're doing it, although, im my personal opinion, there seems to be several different possible reasons at the same time. I've been with 3 individuals interacting with the boat I was in, with one of them seeming to be curious. In the other cases, one was in a day where there was a calf around, the orcas were evasive and boats were harassing the orcas, so a juvenile chased the different boats at speeds close to 25 knots. The other case was with a female that had a calf and we were with them for a while. After a good time she started blowing bubbles (a sign of agression) and then she touched the boat, so there was a clear excalation in response to our presence.

The ecological situation is still rather poor. Overfishing and trawling is a reality. We had issues with the sardine population for example, which are the basis of the food web here basically. The bluefin tuna has been recovering but is still in a bad shape, although these orcas also go for other large pelagic fish like sunfish, swordfish and blue sharks.
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Matias Offline
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Much appreciated your reply.

Boat harassment and engine noise are probably two mutch important stressors to consider - Maritime traffic is intense and the reduction of human-made ocean noise, in times of the Covid-19 pandemic, has possibly brought lower stress levels . Pollution, also high throughout the food web, is likely to be associated with low birth rates and an unknown number of stillbirths, and young people who do not reach adulthood.

I wish you success, and may your studies develop good mitigation strategies, and bring us a greater existential understanding of this highly intelligent predator, so that we have this iconic population surviving for many years to come.

When possible, bring us news.

thanks!
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Another paper I just found, not concerning orcas in specific but talks about them as well

https://pontoporia.org/pdfs/reproducao/Reproductive%20Parameters%20of%20Dolphins%20and%20Small%20Whales%20of%20%20the%20Family%20Deiphinidae%20Perrin%20and%20Reilly.pdf

In Appendix I you can see the maximum size of orcas in different areas
They cite maximum  in the Atlantic as 975cm for males and 853cm for females (the figures discussed here before that are most likely unreliable)
Regarding other areas, in the North Pacific they cite 829cm for males and 698cm for females, similar to the figures for transients in Kotik et. al (2021), 8.3m maximum for males and 7.1m for females.
South Pacific they cite 805cm and 670cm respectively
Indic Ocean they cite 884cm and 792cm respectively, figures discussed before in this thread for South Africa
Southern Ocean 910cm and 762cm, similar to Type A males (8.92m) and B1 females (7.35m) in Durban et. al 2021
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(10-26-2022, 06:22 AM)GuateGojira Wrote: Hi again, time without seeing you around here. Do you have new information at hand?

 Sorry for the radio silence. I've been on a deep search. I am currently giving up on my own regression as I've come to the conclusion that the Bigg and Wolman and Mikhalev's regressions are sufficient enough. Since last summer, I've been grunging up a large literature review on the intraspecific body size variation for a few select species of cetaceans. I initially finished in November, but had a few leads to carry out. I also made a trip to Seattle Washington last month to visit Dr. Sally Mizroch at the Dale Rice Memorial library, where she possesses quite a bit of obscure Russian literature. Dr. Trevor Branch, a data scientist for fisheries research, is currently looking over my manuscript for feedback. It should be submitted in the month.
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I have submited the article. If it gets accepted, I may end up sharing some details before it gets published.
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