The largest creature ever to have lived on Earth has been spotted off the B.C. coast.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) Pacific Region announced through Twitter on July 9 that a team conducting research at sea had sighted a Pacific blue whale (photo above).
The cetacean researchers, working with the DFO's Science at Sea Program, spotted the enormous marine mammal on July 6.
DFO spokespeson Karen Geiger told the Georgia Straight that the sighting occurred on the survey's fourth day, off the west coast of Haida Gwaii.
The blue whale, at upwards of 30 metres (100 feet) in length and weighing as much as 173 tonnes, is the largest creature on Earth and is also the largest animal to have ever existed on the planet, including the dinosaurs. It is also one of the loudest things in the world, with its calls being recorded at as high as 188 decibels, louder than a jet plane taking off.
A blue whale's tongue weighs up to 2.7 tonnes, and its heart weighs as much as 180 kilograms (400 pounds).
Although blue whales were hunted almost to extinction around the globe during the 20th century, losing about 99 percent of their population, an international whaling ban in 1966 has restored the species' numbers significantly.
The eastern North Pacific population was thought to include about 2,200 individuals in 2014, almost at its pre-whaling level, but the DFO says on its website that "no accurate count has been made of the western Canadian population".