On her trainer’s command, an alabaster-skinned beluga whale named Naku placed her chin on the deck of her outdoor pool and exhaled several times, emitting a hollow “chuff” sound with each breath. The vapor rose into a petri dish a researcher held over her blowhole.
Those tiny drops contain a wealth of information, it turns out. Researchers at [Connecticut’s] Mystic Aquarium and elsewhere are learning how to use the breath, or “blow,” of whales and dolphins to extract and measure hormones, microorganisms, DNA and the byproducts of metabolism.
Read more on the whale breath data here.
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