Dermatologists have always advised us to apply exfoliation to our skin to keep it fresh, healthy, and maintain our youth. They encourage us to buy various brushes, cleansers and different cosmetic products to refresh our skin every now and then. But did you know that whales have an exfoliation ritual which maintains their skin and keeps it fresh? Moreover, these majestic sea giants have realized how to do it for free.
Scientists from the University of British Columbia conducted research and used drones to film the beauty treatment that the whales perform. They published the findings of their research on Wednesday in PLOS One.
They observed bowhead whales, which have the longest lifespan when it comes to marine animals, and can live around 200 years. The adults of this species can grow up to 65 feet long, and they are “big enough to stretch across four lanes of highway traffic,” according to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s website. Also, they can weigh around 75 tons and spend their summers in the Arctic.
The scientists spotted certain marks on their skin which made researcher, Sarah Fortune, wonder whether the bowheads use rocks to exfoliate their skin. Scientists believed that this ritual was restricted only to beluga and killer whales. The Verge reported that bowheads have similar skin to belugas. Scientists included over 80 whales in their study, and almost half of them had the mentioned marks on their skin. Fortune used drones to confirm that the bowheads do have the same ritual.
“It’s like a day spa for the whales,” Fortune told Hakai. “Think of it as using a pumice stone to get a callus off your foot, using the physical environment to help exfoliate the skin.”
Unlike humans, who spend a lot of money to remove dead cells and dust to keep their face fresh, it is believed that the whales have different reasons. According to the published paper, whales have an exfoliation ritual which helps them get rid of parasites or other organisms, while the scientists also believe that the skin may be damaged from exposure to the sun.
The New York Times wrote that whales pull off their skins once a year when they start moving towards warmer waters. There’s a possibility of the temperature playing a part in their skin molting, according to the paper. It’s still unclear whether they do this only during the summer, or throughout the whole year.
Nevertheless, it would be nice to find a cost-friendly method to keep our skin fresh too! What do you think about this interesting discovery?