Scientists reveal why whales 'wear hats made of seaweed' as over 100 creatures are spotted wearing 'natural accessory' | The Sun

SCIENTISTS have discovered why whales are often seen wearing seaweed.

The marine plant is thought to have several benefits for the giant mammals but they could also be wearing seaweed hats for fun.

A detailed study about the whales and their green accessories has been in the journal Marine Science and Engineering.

It focuses specifically on baleen whales.

Researchers Olaf Meynecke and Hilla Kela worked together on the project.

They wrote: "Here, we describe in detail three instances of “kelping” on the east coast of Australia derived from aerial observations.

"A summary of over 100 separate and unrelated events drawn from social media, documented by photographs and videos, suggests that this form of interaction with seaweed is observed across different populations."

The researchers found the seaweed was often worn in front of the whale's blowhole or on its dorsal fin.

They provided a detailed drawing of the perfect hat location in their paper.

It's thought the whales may be using the seaweed to itch or remove barnacles.

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Algae has antibacterial properties that the whales could be taking advantage of.

The researchers continued: "This behaviour may be playful but could also serve additional benefits in the context of learning and socializing, as well as ectoparasite removal and skin treatment by utilizing brown algae’s antibacterial properties."

Meynecke revealed in a piece for The Conversation: "Playful whales can use seaweed as a hat – or exfoliant. This “kelping” behaviour is more common than we realised."

He added that the activity was clearly enjoyable for the whales that were observed.

The researchers say their work shows we still have a lot to learn about the giant marine creatures.

It's hoped an increased use of drones and cameras will help us see more of this whale hat behavior.

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