In an 18-year study of energy storage in Antarctic minke whales, Konishi et al. (2008) aged a total of 4,268 mature whales (mature males and pregnant females). They used measurement of the earplug, a layered keratinized and fatty structure inside the external auditory canal, to determine age. The oldest whale aged in their study was 73 years old according to this technique.
Status: wild: 73 (high) years.
- Lockyer, C. 1972. The age at sexual maturity of the southern fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) using annual layer counts in the ear plug. Journal du Conseil International pour l’Exploration de la Mer, 34(2): 276-294.