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

  • Call of the wild: Individual dolphin calls used...
    on August 27, 2020 at 2:21 pm

    A new study has shown for the first time that acoustic monitoring can be used in place of photographs to generate abundance estimates of dolphin populations.

  • Ichthyosaur's last meal is evidence of Triassic...
    on August 20, 2020 at 3:28 pm

    Some 240 million years ago, a dolphin-like ichthyosaur ripped to pieces and swallowed another marine reptile only a little smaller than itself. Then it almost immediately died and was fossilized, preserving the first evidence of megapredation, or a large animal preying on another large animal.

  • Study finds high levels of toxic pollutants in...
    on August 6, 2020 at 7:36 pm

    Researchers examined toxins in tissue concentrations and pathology data from 83 stranded dolphins and whales from 2012 to 2018. They looked at 11 different animal species to test for 17 different substances. The study is the first to report on concentrations in blubber tissues of stranded cetaceans of atrazine, DEP, NPE and triclosan. It also is the first to report concentrations of toxicants in a white-beaked dolphin and in Gervais' beaked whales.

  • Dolphin calf entangled in fishing line only lived...
    on August 4, 2020 at 1:33 pm

    Researchers examined the outcome of an entangled bottlenose dolphin calf with monofilament fishing line wrapped tightly around its upper jaw. It was successfully disentangled and immediately released it back into its natural habitat. Surviving only two years, results showed long-term severe damage due to this entanglement including emaciation. There are about 1,000 bottlenose dolphins that live in the Indian River Lagoon, which also is a very popular location for recreational fishing.

  • Whale airway mucus reveals likely poor health...
    on July 30, 2020 at 3:01 pm

    Researchers have linked the burden of humpback whales' annual migration to depleted microbial diversity in their airways - an indicator of overall health.


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.

  • 6 dolphins found dead in 'historic' stranding in...
    on September 30, 2020 at 7:04 pm

    Six dolphins were found dead in an Alabama marsh last week in what experts call an "historic mass stranding."

  • How the Humboldt squid's genetic past and present...
    on September 30, 2020 at 2:51 pm

    A group of marine biologists is pushing for more international collaboration to manage the Humboldt squid population after their study to identify its genetic stocks revealed its vulnerability to overfishing by fleets trying to feed the world's hunger for squids.

  • New study reveals how reptiles divided up the...
    on September 30, 2020 at 12:07 pm

    While dinosaurs ruled the land in the Mesozoic, the oceans were filled by predators such as crocodiles and giant lizards, but also entirely extinct groups such as ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs.

  • New model shows that industrial fishing could...
    on September 30, 2020 at 11:48 am

    Life on Earth is all about strategies for survival, with every organism developing behaviors and bodies that maximize chances of staying alive and reproducing while minimizing the likelihood of being injured or eaten.

  • Vessel noise present year-round at Cordell Bank...
    on September 29, 2020 at 6:15 pm

    The environment in the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary off the coast of San Francisco is not a refuge from the noise generated by ship traffic, the first underwater marine acoustic study of the region has shown.