Whale as old as the Titanic spotted in the Pacific

Posted at 9:42 AM, Aug 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-08 09:41:48-04

Whale watchers off the coast of Washington saw a welcome sight last week—a killer whale nicknamed “Granny” who is believed to be an astonishing 105 years old, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

Granny’s more formal name among scientists who have studied her for decades is J2, and a post at the Orca Network uses both names in the original post about her sighting: “J2 Granny (oldest southern resident orca) looking gorgeous. She and J27 spent more time out of the water than in it!” The link includes multiple photos of her leaping from the water.

Female orcas typically live about 50 years, notes a post at the NOAA, but a rare few have been been known to reach 100. Granny appears to be in this category, or at least close to it.

As the Chronicle explains, researchers who first spotted her in 1971 pegged her age at 60. The Orca Network tells KIRO-TV that the margin of error is 12 years, meaning she could be a youthful 90.

Given the playful new images, she’s doing pretty well for a creature who, if the older figure is correct, entered the ocean around the same time as the Titanic and made it through two world wars, notes the Charlotte Observer.

Why, she’s even the honorary mayor of Eastsound, Washington, and you can read her June “mayoral address” here. (Researchers have found humpback whales deliberately save other creatures from killer whales.)