Why do beluga whales have such large brains?

4 Answers

  • Misty
    Lv 5
    4 weeks ago

    They are extremely smart and add to that eco location.

  • 4 weeks ago

    It is all about genetics.

    Whales know more about sonar than humans ever will.

  • Anonymous
    4 weeks ago

    Belugas have an EQ of 2.5, a measure of their brain to body mass ratio. It is also a measure of how smart they are. Their EQ is about the same as that of a chimpanzee, making them about as smart as a chimp and only slightly less smart than an orca. It is an adaptation to their niche, or way of life. Brains are costly to maintain, and unless there is a good use for a large brain, then it is a waste of energy to have a large one. In fact, in some cases, some animals have evolved to adapt to their niche by getting rid of their brain. Tunicates are close relatives of the chordates, and whales, humans, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians are chordates. The free swimming larvae of tunicates have a brain, but when the larva transforms into a sessile, stationary filter feeding adult, the brain is eliminated. The adult needs no brain. It feeds by filtering food particles suspended in the water. Since it does not need a brain to look for food or to move, getting rid of the brain saves it energy, energy that it can use to keep itself alive when food is scarce, and to reproduce instead of feeding a useless organ.

    Beluga whales are close relatives of other toothed whales, which include orcas, and dolphins. These other animals also have large brains. Indeed, toothed whales have on average larger brains than baleen whales. Baleen whales evolved from toothed whales, but because they do not need a big brain to find food, since they filter small animals from the water through their baleen plates, they can afford to have a smaller brain that saves them energy, so they can eat less and still survive. OTOH, if an animal needs a big brain to figure out where to find and/or catch its next meal, and if it can starve to death if it cannot find enough food using its brain, then the big brain becomes a necessity, not a luxury or a waste of energy. We humans have a large brain, but it weighs less than 3 pounds. Despite its light weight, it consumes 20% of the energy we use. But because humans evolved on the African savanna, where food is scarce for animals that cannot digest grass, we had to evolve a big brain so we can find food such as shellfish, tubers, and so we can use that big brain to hunt down animals that are much faster and stronger than we are. Without our big brain, we would have become extinct a long time ago. 

  • L.N.
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    For one, they are very large animals. They also have a very complex sonar imaging system that requires a lot of computing power. A lot of that big head is not filled with brains though, it is full of oil, fat and wax that make up another part of their sonar system.

Still have questions? Get answers by asking now.