Stretchy nerves are an essential component of the extreme feeding mechanism of rorqual whales

  title={Stretchy nerves are an essential component of the extreme feeding mechanism of rorqual whales},
  author={A Wayne Vogl and Margo A Lillie and Marina A. Piscitelli and Jeremy A. Goldbogen and Nicholas D. Pyenson and Robert E. Shadwick},
  journal={Current Biology},
Rorqual whales (Balaenopteridae) are among the largest vertebrates that have ever lived and include blue (Balaenoptera musculus) and fin (Balaenoptera physalus) whales. Rorquals differ from other baleen whales (Mysticeti) in possessing longitudinal furrows or grooves in the ventral skin that extend from the mouth to the umbilicus. This ventral grooved blubber directly relates to their intermittent lunge feeding strategy, which is unique among vertebrates and was potentially an evolutionary… Expand
Sling, Scoop, and Squirter: Anatomical Features Facilitating Prey Transport, Processing, and Swallowing in Rorqual Whales (Mammalia: Balaenopteridae)
A novel system of three integrated structural components involved in sequential feeding activities that follow lunge‐feeding engulfment of prey‐laden water in rorquals are described, best described as a suite of integrated structural adaptations. Expand
The Functional Anatomy of Nerves Innervating the Ventral Grooved Blubber of Fin Whales (Balaenoptera Physalus)
Nerves that supply the floor of the oral cavity in rorqual whales are extensible to accommodate the dramatic changes in tissue dimensions that occur during “lunge feeding” in this group. We reportExpand
Two Levels of Waviness Are Necessary to Package the Highly Extensible Nerves in Rorqual Whales
Using micro-CT and mechanics, it is discovered that the VGB nerves from fin whales require two levels of waviness to prevent stretch damage in both extended and recoiled states. Expand
The largest of August Krogh animals: Physiology and biomechanics of the blue whale revisited.
  • J. Goldbogen, P. Madsen
  • Medicine
  • Comparative biochemistry and physiology. Part A, Molecular & integrative physiology
  • 2021
It is hoped that an increasing ability to study the physiology and behavior of blue whales and other marine megafauna will enable informed decisions and ensure the authors' permanent co-existence in the face of increasing human encroachment into marine habitats. Expand
Using morphology to infer physiology: Case studies on rorqual whales (Balaenopteridae)
A wide range of morphological studies are reviewed that enable greater inference of physiological processes in baleen whales that exhibit extensive diving and foraging adaptations, highlighting the value of understanding functional morphology in animals that cannot be studied using traditional laboratory technology. Expand
Slick, Stretchy Fascia Underlies the Sliding Tongue of Rorquals
Biomechanical testing of tissue samples in the field and laboratory, via machine‐controlled or manual stretching, demonstrates expansion of the sublingual fascia and its three layers up to 250% beyond resting dimensions, with slightly more extension observed in anteroposterior stretching. Expand
Whale jaw joint is a shock absorber
The non-synovial temporomandibular jaw joint of rorqual whales is presumed to withstand intense stresses when huge volumes of water are engulfed during lunge feeding and has an elastic fibrocartilage pad hypothesized to absorb shock during engulfment and aid in closing jaws via elastic recoil. Expand
Feeding and Digestion
Many of the morphological and physiological adaptations that marine mammals exhibit for an aquatic life enhance their ability to feed, so animals will often eat as much as possible and build body fat reserves when food is available. Expand
A new Miocene baleen whale from the Peruvian desert
Overall, Incakujira expands the still meagre Miocene record of balaenopterids and reveals a previously underappreciated degree of complexity in the evolution of their iconic lunge-feeding strategy. Expand
Lunge Feeding in Rorqual Whales.
The biomechanics of the lunge feeding mechanism in rorqual whales that underlies their extraordinary foraging performance and gigantic body size are reviewed. Expand


Discovery of a sensory organ that coordinates lunge feeding in rorqual whales
Top ocean predators have evolved multiple solutions to the challenges of feeding in the water. At the largest scale, rorqual whales (Balaenopteridae) engulf and filter prey-laden water by lungeExpand
Skull and buccal cavity allometry increase mass-specific engulfment capacity in fin whales
Allometric equations for fin whale body dimensions and engulfment capacity demonstrate that larger fin whales have larger skulls and larger buccal cavities relative to body size, and suggest that engulfment volume is also allometric, increasing with body length. Expand
Novel muscle and connective tissue design enables high extensibility and controls engulfment volume in lunge-feeding rorqual whales
Evidence supporting the idea that eccentric muscle contraction modulates the rate of expansion and ultimate size of the ventral cavity during engulfment of rorqual whales is presented. Expand
Kinematics of foraging dives and lunge-feeding in fin whales
Examination of body kinematics at depth reveals variable lunge-feeding behavior in the context of distinct kinematic modes, which exhibit temporal coordination of rotational torques with translational accelerations. Expand
Mechanical functioning of peripheral nerves: linkage with the “mushrooming” effect
The proposed model for the intact nerve is a continuous connective tissue tube surrounding and constraining an inner swelling pressure of the neural core, indicating that epineurium is a constraint and that the nerves are underhydrated. Expand
The extensibility of Aplysia nerve and the determination of true axon length.
  • H. Koike
  • Biology, Medicine
  • The Journal of physiology
  • 1987
1. Characteristics of Aplysia nerves in response to extension were examined in comparison with nerves of the cat, frog and lobster. 2. Only the Aplysia nerve was easily elongated up to about 5 timesExpand
Strain, stress and stretch of peripheral nerve. Rabbit experiments in vitro and in vivo.
The studies showed that peripheral nerves exhibited non-linear stress-strain characteristics when placed under tension, and the maintenance of small in situ stresses suggests that sustained increases in tension could be adversely affecting the electrophysiologic properties of the nerve. Expand
Evaluation and management of peripheral nerve injury
Decision making regarding exploration must occur more quickly, and exploration using intraoperative nerve action potential recording to guide the choice of surgical procedure is often useful. Expand
Changes in conduction, blood flow, histology, and neurological status following acute nerve‐stretch injury induced by femoral lengthening
It is concluded that spinal somatosensory evoked potential is very sensitive and may serve as an effective tool for the early detection of impending acute nerve‐stretch injury and that a 50% reduction in amplitude indicates irreversible damage. Expand
Experimental stretch neuropathy. Changes in nerve conduction under tension.
An animal model of stretch injury to nerve in order to study in vivo conduction changes as a function of nerve strain has clinical implications in nerve repair, limb trauma, and limb lengthening. Expand