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Writer Fuel: Scientists Discover Likely Origin of Norse “Hafgufa” Sea Monster

hafgufa - deposit photos

A sea creature mentioned in 13th-century Old Norse manuscripts, which historians thought was a kraken-like mythological monster, is actually a whale using a hunting strategy known as trap or tread-water feeding, a new study finds.

Scientists only described this feeding behavior around a decade ago, after they spotted humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) and Bryde’s whales (Balaenoptera brydei) waiting with their mouths wide open in a motionless, upright position at the surface of the water. Unsuspecting shoals of fish perceive the gaping jaws as shelter and swim straight into the lethal trap.

A clip of a Bryde’s whale performing this tactic went viral on Instagram after featuring in a BBC documentary series in 2021.

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Full Story From Live Science