Science News reports on a new record – three hours and 42 minutes underwater without coming up for air – set by a Cuvier’s beaked whale:
Cuvier’s beaked whales (Ziphius cavirostris) are master divers. The creatures not only hold the record for deepest plunge by a marine mammal — measuring nearly 3,000 meters — but also for the longest dives. In 2014, scientists documented one dive that lasted just over two hours at 137.5 minutes, setting a record. Another Cuvier’s beaked whale has now shattered that record, going 222 minutes, or three hours and 42 minutes, without coming up for air, researchers report September 23 in the Journal of Experimental Biology.
To last so long underwater, the mammals may rely on large stores of oxygen and a slow metabolism. Once oxygen runs out, the animals may have the ability to tolerate lactic acid building up in their muscles from anaerobic respiration — a method of generating energy that doesn’t rely on oxygen.
You can find the original research here.