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whale : any of various very large, aquatic, marine mammals (order Cetacea) that have a torpedo-shaped body with a thick layer of blubber, paddle-shaped forelimbs but no hind limbs, a horizontally flattened tail, and nostrils that open externally at the top of the head — Webster

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Whales are a widely distributed and diverse group of fully aquatic placental marine mammals. They are an informal grouping within the infraorder Cetacea, usually excluding dolphins and porpoises. Whales are creatures of the open ocean; they feed, mate, give birth, suckle and raise their young at sea. So extreme is their adaptation to life underwater that they are unable to survive on land. Whales range in size from the 2.6 metres (8.5 ft) and 135 kilograms (298 lb) dwarf sperm whale to the 29.9 metres (98 ft) and 190 metric tons (210 short tons) blue whale, which is the largest creature that has ever lived. The sperm whale is the largest toothed predator on earth. Several species exhibit sexual dimorphism, in that the females are larger than males. Baleen whales have no teeth; instead they have plates of baleen, a fringe-like structure used to expel water while retaining the krill and plankton which they feed on. They use their throat pleats to expand the mouth to take in huge gulps of water. Balaenids have heads that can make up 40% of their body mass to take in water. Toothed whales, on the other hand, have conical teeth designed for catching fish or squid. Baleen whales have a well developed sense of “smell”, whereas toothed whales have well-developed hearing − their hearing, that is adapted for both air and water, is so well developed that some can survive even if they are blind. Some species, such as sperm whales, are well adapted for diving to great depths to catch squid and other favoured prey.– Wikipedia

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whaleresearch whaleresearch

  • Lack of Chinook salmon and the stress it is...
    by Ken Balcomb on July 2, 2018 at 7:23 pm

    In this 4:30 minute interview with Ken Balcomb in July 2017, he talks about the lack of Chinook salmon and the stress it is placing on the endangered Southern Resident Orca population.Here are some highlights from that interview:“By 1985 there were no Chinook left in Puget Sound … And now we are pretty much seeing the same thing here.”“The salmon are smaller, much less numerous, and they are virtually all hatchery fish.” “Nobody ever thought about the […]

  • Home on the Range
    on March 24, 2018 at 8:10 pm

    Ken Balcomb, Center for Whale Research founder and senior scientist, responding to the misconception that the Southern Resident killer whales (SRKW) are “resident” to the Salish Sea area, where they are seen most frequently by humans. Home on the RangeWhere the Southern Resident killer whales roam and forageIt is naive to think that the Southern Resident killer whales – J, K, and L pods – are only “resident” to the inland Salish Sea and that they depend […]

  • How long does it take for a dorsal fin to...
    by Dave Ellifrit on February 28, 2018 at 11:42 pm

    When a killer whale calf is born, it's dorsal fin is bent over. When we first saw J49, in August 2012, it's fin was bent. We wondered how long it would take for it to straighten. We found the answer to that question very quickly. In this three minute video, Dave Ellifrit takes us through the first few months of a killer whale calf's development, from "tiny little wrinkly, pencilly thin sorta thing" to scaly skin and then to a plump and yellowish little whale. Very interesting and lots of fun to […]

  • Finding Acceptance
    by Dr. Astrid van Ginneken on January 30, 2018 at 2:16 pm

    The second in a series of video excerpts from our Celebrating Science workshop held on July 21, 2017, on San Juan Island. Dr. Astrid van Ginneken - Finding Acceptanc […]

  • How do Orcas cope with loss?
    by Dr. Astrid van Ginneken on January 29, 2018 at 10:22 pm

    The first in a series of video excerpts from our Celebrating Science workshop held on July 21, 2017, on San Juan Island. Dr. Astrid van Ginneken - How do Orcas cope with loss? […]


Dolphins and Whales News -- ScienceDaily Whales and dolphins. Whale songs, beaching, endangered status -- current research news on all cetaceans.

  • Dolphin ancestor's hearing was more like hoofed...
    on May 15, 2019 at 12:54 pm

    Paleontologists are looking into the evolutionary origins of the whistles and squeaks that dolphins and porpoises make -- part of the rare echolocation ability that allows them to effectively navigate their dark environment. […]

  • How whales defy the cancer odds: Good genes
    on May 10, 2019 at 1:13 pm

    Scientists have studied potential cancer suppression mechanisms in cetaceans, the mammalian group that includes whales, dolphins and porpoises. Biologists picked apart the genome of the humpback whale, as well as the genomes of nine other cetaceans, in order to determine how their cancer defenses are so effective. […]

  • Mysterious river dolphin helps crack the code of...
    on April 19, 2019 at 1:40 pm

    The Araguaian river dolphin of Brazil was thought to be solitary with little social structure that would require communication. But researchers have discovered the dolphins actually are social and can make hundreds of different sounds, a finding that could help uncover how communication evolved in marine mammals. […]

  • Ancient, four-legged whale with otter-like...
    on April 4, 2019 at 3:44 pm

    Cetaceans, the group including whales and dolphins, originated in south Asia more than 50 million years ago from a small, four-legged, hoofed ancestor. Now, researchers reporting the discovery of an ancient four-legged whale -- found in 42.6-million-year-old marine sediments along the coast of Peru -- have new insight into whales' evolution and their dispersal to other parts of the world. […]

  • Climate change is a threat to dolphins' survival
    on April 1, 2019 at 3:58 pm

    An unprecedented marine heatwave had long-lasting negative impacts on both survival and birth rates on the iconic dolphin population in Shark Bay, Western Australia. Researchers have now documented that climate change may have more far-reaching consequences for the conservation of marine mammals than previously thought. […]


Phys.org - latest science and technology news stories Phys.org internet news portal provides the latest news on science including: Physics, Nanotechnology, Life Sciences, Space Science, Earth Science, Environment, Health and Medicine.

  • Size is everything, ecologist finds
    on May 20, 2019 at 4:01 pm

    Natural ecosystems are as vulnerable as they are diverse. Environmental changes such as climate change, pollution or the spread of alien species can easily throw an ecosystem off balance. Researchers are therefore investigating how susceptible ecosystems are to disruption. But in their search for answers they face the problem that the complex network of relationships includes innumerable interactions, which are virtually impossible to record comprehensively and convert into measurable data. […]

  • Why decarbonizing marine transportation might not...
    on May 17, 2019 at 1:08 pm

    About 60,000 merchant ships sail the world's oceans, including container ships, oil tankers and dry bulk carriers loaded with everything from grain to coal. Most operate on carbon-rich fuels such as heavy diesel, and their emissions have negative environmental impacts, are harmful to human health and contribute to global warming. […]

  • Where on Earth is the Salish Sea?
    on May 17, 2019 at 12:03 pm

    Less than half of the people in Washington and British Columbia have heard of the Salish Sea, even though they live alongside it. […]

  • Activists petition court to halt Japan dolphin...
    on May 17, 2019 at 10:33 am

    Campaigners on Friday urged a court in Japan to halt so-called "drive hunting" of dolphins in the country as part of an unprecedented lawsuit that argues the practice violates Japanese law. […]

  • Russia to release killer whales in new habitat,...
    on May 15, 2019 at 3:54 pm

    Russia is to free captured killer whales over the next month, but will not return them to their original habitat despite expert advice, a scientist said Wednesday. […]