Orca “Granny,” 105 Years Old, Still Swimming the Pacific

Photo: Leigh Calvez

Photo: Leigh Calvez

Orcas live in complex multi-generational pods led by a matriarch.  In the pod that scientists have labeled as the “J pod,” the matriarchal orca, designated as J2, also-known-as “Granny” was recently sighted swimming with her pod off the coast of Washington. Remarkably, Granny is believed to be oldest living orca at 105 years old. If so, Granny was swimming the Pacific when the Titanic was launched.

As reported by the SF GateThe 105-year-old whale nicknamed “Granny” was seen on July 27 swimming with a few other whales, and seemed to be in “high spirits,” according to a whale-sighting report shared by Orca Network.

While it seems impossible that a whale can live up to 105, Granny — also known by her scientific name J2 — has been studied by scientists since the early 1970s. Her age was first deduced by scientists who spotted her in 1971, and it was generally accepted that year that Granny was 60, Michael Harris, executive director of Pacific Whale Watch Association, told SeattlePI in 2014. It has since been stated that there is a 12-year margin of error around her age, possibly making her as young as 90, according to Orca Network.

Granny has continued to be sighted throughout the years, despite an average life expectancy of between 60 and 80 years for wild orcas. Granny, and other older whales in the wild, far outlive whales in captivity who have only been known to live up to (at most) their early 40s, Harris pointed out.  Granny is known by the markings near her dorsal fin.

World’s Oldest Orca ‘Granny’ Spotted

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One Response to Orca “Granny,” 105 Years Old, Still Swimming the Pacific

  1. Phil says:

    Greenland shark who live at least 400 years is world’s longest-living vertebrate

    WGN-TV – ‎21 hours ago‎

    Swim aside, bowhead whales: Greenland sharks have stolen the crown as longest-living vertebrate on Earth. University of Copenhagen researchers estimated that these sharks live at least 400 years, nearly two centuries longer than the whales.