Humpback Whales' Romantic Mating Ritual Caught On Camera For First Time
According to The Daily Telegraph, Edwards was amazed at the "brief but tender" sexual encounter. It lasted less than 30 seconds.
National Geographic reported that while some "heat runs" -- when male humpback whales fight to win over their female partners -- have been recorded, this is the first time the "real thing" has been documented.
According to Edwards, "There were four or five males vying for her attention and while the larger ones were busy jostling each other, the smallest one swam away with the female."
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Grappling her from a slight angle, the male humpback whale entered her from behind until his belly touched. Edwards reported that during copulation, the male humpback stroked her gently and then after the short encounter, the female released a sigh of bubbles from her mouth.
Although the photo is just surfacing now, Edwards captured the moment in Spring 2010. It was kept a secret while whale researchers tried to construct their thesis on whale mating.
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The sweet and romantic mating ritual of the humpback whales comes as a surprise to many. Fellow marine mammals, such as the bottlenose dolphin, have made headlines in the past with tales of violent sexual coercion and gang rape.
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