Beluga Whale 'Knees' Are Going Viral but, Of Course, Whales Don't Have Legs

A beluga whale plays with tourists as they visit Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Connecticut, on June 18, 2017. Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

You learn something new every day. For instance, you are about to learn today that beluga whales don't have legs. And, sure, that feels obvious, but apparently that's a question some folks had. So here we are: Beluga whales + lower half of the body = not legs.

It all started, as things often do on the internet, with a good ol' tweet.

This tweet from over the weekend, to be specific:

Throughout history, sailors have mistaken Beluga Wales for mermaids because of their human-like knees.

— We Like To Learn (@WeLikeToLearn) June 4, 2018

i can't ever unsee this and that's something i'm going to have to deal with for the rest of my life

— shlee ✌️ (@horseshitcall) June 5, 2018

But, as we have already established, that whale does not, in fact, have a set of gams. Although funnily enough, a school of whales is called a gam. There, you've learned two whale facts today.

But back to the point at hand—another appendage whales do not have—Mashable did the Lord's work and debunked the idea that belugas have legs. It's just blubber and good timing with a photograph.

"The position of the camera is just such that they caught that blubber moving," Carey Richard, supervisor of cetaceans and pinnipeds at the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut, told Mashable. And another expert agreed when assessing the leg status of belugas, which can swim backward (whale fact number three).

"My guess would be just the angle and movement of the animal through the water is causing this distortion in appearance of the blubber and maybe muscle," Mandy Migura, a marine mammal biologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told Mashable.

We got to the bottom of the beluga whale mystery. You're welcome.

— Mashable (@mashable) June 6, 2018

You know which animal does have legs? A white millipede called the lllacme plenipes, which has 750 limbs and was dubbed "the world's leggiest creature" by LiveScience in 2012.

But the supremely leggy millipede found only in a certain part of Northern California is reportedly in danger of going extinct because of human encroachment on their habitat and climate change.

"We don't know much about the biology of these organisms, so for them to go extinct before we understand what role they may play in the ecosystem, or even what they could provide to humanity given enough study, would be a huge shame," Michael Brewer, a researcher at University of Berkeley, told LiveScience at the time of the report in 2012.