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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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Whales in Fiction (Category, Wikipedia)


Whale Mythology from around the World
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More News …

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

  • Plesiosaur fossils found in the Sahara suggest...
    on July 27, 2022 at 3:07 pm

    Fossils of small plesiosaurs, long-necked marine reptiles from the age of dinosaurs, have been found in a 100-million year old river system that is now Morocco's Sahara Desert. This discovery suggests some species of plesiosaur, traditionally thought to be sea creatures, may have lived in freshwater.

  • The world's largest omnivore is a fish
    on July 25, 2022 at 2:56 pm

    Whale sharks are filter feeders and have long been observed eating krill at Western Australia's Ningaloo Reef. But when researchers analysed biopsy samples from whale sharks at the reef, they discovered the animals were actually eating a lot of plant material. The finding makes whale sharks -- which have been reported up to 18m long -- the world's largest omnivore.

  • Major dolphin DNA study
    on July 12, 2022 at 2:26 pm

    The first widespread census of the genetic diversity of common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) populations living along 3000km of Australia's southern coastline has raised key pointers for future conservation efforts. The comprehensive study calls for more conservation and policy efforts to preserve adaptive DNA diversity and assist connectivity between these dolphin groups. This will support long-term gene flow and adaptation during ongoing habitat changes -- including oceanic conditions affected […]

  • Bomb detectors picking up more blue whale songs...
    on July 11, 2022 at 3:18 pm

    The good news is, pygmy blue whales appear to be thriving in the Indian Ocean. But not-so-good is that climate change may be threatening their food sources.

  • 150 southern fin whales observed feeding together
    on July 7, 2022 at 6:18 pm

    After blue whales, fin whales are the largest whales in the world -- and human beings have hunted both species to near-extinction. After the ban on commercial whaling in 1976, the stocks of these long-lived, but slow-growing creatures are rebounding: researchers have witnessed large groups of up to 150 southern fin whales in their historical feeding areas -- more than has ever been documented before using modern methods. Given these whales' key role in nutrient recycling, other species in the […]

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.

  • Whales have altered their development to be able...
    on August 11, 2022 at 2:54 pm

    Researchers found that different groups of whales and dolphins take varying routes as they develop in a delicate balancing act between their evolutionary history and current environment.

  • Are animal migrations social?
    on August 10, 2022 at 3:44 pm

    Migratory animals include a wide range of species—from tiny insects to the world's largest marine mammals. To achieve their journeys, migrants must walk, swim, or fly, often traversing complex landscapes that requires many choices about where, when, and why to move. Despite the diversity of migratory journeys made by animals, most scientists who study migration have a taxonomic focus—meaning that they study a particular species or group of species that migrate.

  • Beluga whale lost in French river euthanized...
    on August 10, 2022 at 1:27 pm

    A beluga whale that became a French celebrity after a wrong turn took it up the Seine River had to be euthanized Wednesday after experiencing health complications during an urgent rescue operation, authorities said.

  • Stranded beluga whale rescued from France's Seine...
    on August 10, 2022 at 6:45 am

    A beluga whale stranded in the river Seine in northern France for more than a week was removed from the water early Wednesday in the first stage of an ambitious rescue operation to return it to the sea.

  • New research using stable isotopes sheds light on...
    on August 9, 2022 at 8:40 pm

    An international collaborative study involving researchers from Massey University, the University of Canterbury, NIWA, and Flinders University has analyzed the isotopic niche of 21 species of toothed whales in New Zealand.


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Knowledge Realm


Sphere Land, Ice, Water (Ocean), Air
Ecosystem Forest, Grassland, Desert, Arctic, Aquatic

Life Cell, Gene, Tree of Life
Plant Flower, Tree
Invertebrate Cuttlefish, Octopus, Ant, Bee, Butterfly, Spider, Lobster
Vertebrate Fish, Seahorse, Ray, Shark, Frog, Turtle, Tortoise, Dinosaur
Bird, Ostrich, Owl, Crow, Parrot
Mammal Bat, Rabbit, Giraffe, Camel, Horse, Elephant, Mammoth
Whale, Dolphin, Walrus, Seal, Polar Bear, Bear, Cat, Tiger, Lion, Dog, Wolf
Monkey, Chimpanzee, Human


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