Similar to humans who prefer fish or meat, orcas can have their own particular food preferences.
In the Atlantic Ocean, some researchers have suggested that the separate preferences for fish and meat among orcas also lead to other changes and preferences. Some suggest that the orcas separated into distinct species because of their diet: fish-eaters mate only with other fish-eaters, and mammal-eaters only with other mammal-eaters.
These scientists speculate that because the hunting tactics for fish versus mammals is different, the learned behavior of subsequent generations could lead to the fish-lovers and the mammal-hunters to become genetically distinct and unable to reproduce. A report of the fascinating possibility is posted here.
Photo of orcas breaching by Robert Pittman of the NOAA.
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