Photo: Why do whales breach?

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Breaching whale

credit: E Flen/flickr

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Self-taught photographer E Flen has certainly learned a thing or two about taking photos ... just look at this beauty! Shot during a whale-watching trip in San Francisco, this photo catches a majestic humpback whale mid-breach. Which begs the questions, why do whales do that in the first place?

As it turns out, scientists aren't exactly sure but they have some ideas. Probably the most popular theory is that they do it to help remove parasites like barnacles from their bodies – life in the sea is hard when you don't have hands to brush things off of your skin. Other theories suggest it's a way to scratch an itch or a way to communicate. And if none of those resonate with you, there's always the last one: They're just having fun.

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