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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.

  • 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.

  • Underwater robots reveal daily habits of...
    on July 30, 2020 at 1:05 am

    Research has revealed the daily habits of the endangered Mediterranean sperm whale. The recordings confirmed the whales' widespread presence in the north-western Mediterranean Sea and identified a possible hotspot for sperm whale habitat in the Gulf of Lion, as well as different foraging strategies between different areas.

  • Baleen whales have changed their distribution in...
    on July 17, 2020 at 4:01 pm

    Researchers using passive acoustic recordings of whale calls to track their movements have found that four of the six baleen whale species found in the western North Atlantic Ocean -- humpback, sei, fin and blue whales -- have changed their distribution patterns in the past decade. The recordings were made over 10 years by devices moored to the seafloor at nearly 300 locations from the Caribbean Sea to western Greenland.


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.

  • Pesticides and industrial pollutants found in...
    on August 7, 2020 at 12:20 pm

    Researchers recently found pesticides and industrial compounds deposited in snow atop four high-elevation glacier sites on the Norwegian archipelago Svalbard, often considered a "pristine" environment. The long journey of these compounds—likely originating in the United States and Eurasia—shows the far-reaching impacts of industrial pollution.

  • Washington dam removal means 37 more miles of...
    on August 6, 2020 at 7:40 pm

    Washington's dam-busting summer is still rolling, with two more dams coming down on the Pilchuck River, opening 37 miles of habitat to salmon for the first time in more than a century.

  • Seal-eating killer whales accumulate large...
    on August 6, 2020 at 4:40 pm

    Research of killer whales in the southern Atlantic ocean and Mediterranean have shown that their blubber contains high levels of pollutants called PCBs, whilst killer whales found along the Norwegian coast have been assumed to be healthy and at low risk from pollution. This is because when researchers took samples from nine Norwegian killer whales in 2002, they found lower levels of pollutants than other populations.

  • 'Thermal displacement' reflects how far species...
    on August 5, 2020 at 3:00 pm

    Marine heatwaves across the world's oceans can displace habitat for sea turtles, whales, and other marine life by 10s to thousands of kilometers. They dramatically shift these animals' preferred temperatures in a fraction of the time that climate change is expected to do the same, new research shows.

  • Tracking humanity's latest toxins in stranded...
    on August 5, 2020 at 7:13 am

    As humanity develops new types of plastics and chemicals, researchers are constantly trying to keep up with understanding how these contaminants affect the environment and wildlife. A new study gives a first look at the presence and potential effects of these pollutants in stranded dolphins and whales along the coast of the southeastern United States.