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Watch these humpback whales create a stunning Fibonacci spiral to capture prey

Whales create Fibonacci spiral of bubbles
Humpback whales created a mesmerizing Fibonacci spiral of bubbles to capture fish in Antarctica 01:26

Your teacher was right – math is everywhere, and it turns out that even whales use it. Stunning drone video has captured two massive humpback whales in Antarctica creating a Fibonacci spiral, otherwise known as the "Golden Spiral," to create a bubble net and capture prey. 

The video shows a three-layered spiral of bubbles rising to the ocean surface, with two large whales then surfacing right through the center. The action is known as bubble-net feeding, and according to the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, it's a "complex, highly synchronized" group hunting strategy that involves "communication and cooperation, demonstrating signs of high social intelligence." 

To make it happen, the whales have to dive deep below the ocean, where they then create bubbles through their blowholes "to stun and trap fish closer to the surface," the organization says. 

"One whale generally leads the effort followed by the rest of the group," they add. "The leader will usually be responsible for blowing the bubbles and the other members will surround the fish, following them to the surface by swimming in spiral patterns to keep the fish trapped."

But making this instance of the hunting practice so unique was the way in which the bubble net formed. It appeared as a Fibonacci spiral – a geometric visualization of the Fibonacci sequence, which is when each number in a sequence is the sum of the two numbers that come before it, such as 1,1, 2, 3, 5, 8, etc. A Fibonacci spiral, which is also known as the Golden Spiral, is often seen in nature, such as in the bottom of pine cones and nautilus shells. 

Nature photographer Piet van den Bemd captured the scene, describing it in a Facebook post as a "mesmerising dance." 

"Nature's perfect collaboration unfolds beneath the waves," he said, later telling Storyful that he would "absolutely never forget" what he saw. 

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