World's oldest killer whale feared dead

J2 the orca was estimated to be more than 100 years old


The world's oldest known killer whale is missing and is feared to be dead.

The orca is known officially as J2 but more affectionately as Granny. According to the BBC, Granny was estimated to be more than 100 years old.

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The mammal was the star a BBC documentary that followed her clan and explored the topic of menopause.

Orcas, short finned pilot whales, and humans are the only three known mammals to experience menopause.

The research conducted in the documentary played a crucial role in understanding the family role matriarch orcas play in a clan.

Lead evolutionary biology researcher professor Darren Croft of the University of Exeter said of the news: "It was inevitable that this day was going to come but it is very sad news and a further blow to this population."

The Center for Whale Research, which has been studying Granny for 40 years, first reported her death on its website.

Croft added: "Although J2 is gone we will continue to benefit for many decades to come, from the incredible data collected on her life over the last 40 years by the Center for Whale Research."

Britain's amazing sea life

Britain's amazing sea life