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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

  • Restoring salmon runs, not politics, will save...
    by Ken Balcomb on July 17, 2019 at 4:39 pm

    The only real solution for reversal of the downhill trend in Chinook salmon size and abundance, and for the southern resident killer whale population, is to recover the natural wild runs of Chinook and their supporting ecosystems as soon as possible.Hatchery fish will not do the job of nature — the fish are produced in factories for human harvest at great cost, and if they return to natural spawning beds they dilute the finely adapted genetics of the native wild salmon. Furthermore, by

  • Where Have the Southern Residents Been?
    by Jane Cogan on July 10, 2019 at 10:35 pm

    If the presence (or absence) of the Southern Resident killer whales in what is supposed to be their “core summer habitat” is a measure of how well that habitat (officially designated as Critical Habitat) provides the benefits and protections the whales need, the whales are not giving the area a passing grade. The Southern Resident killer whales were missing from their “core summer habit” for two months from early May until early July. Their unprecedented absence at this […]

  • 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


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

  • Killer whale grandmothers boost survival of calves
    on December 9, 2019 at 9:13 pm

    New research finds that killer whale grandmothers who were no longer able to reproduce had the biggest beneficial impact on the survival chances of their grand-offspring. This may be because grandmothers without calves of their own are free to focus time and resources on the latest generation, the researchers suggest.

  • Whales may owe their efficient digestion to...
    on December 5, 2019 at 6:05 pm

    A study shows that the microbial communities inside whales may play an important role in the digestion of one of the ocean's most abundant carbon-rich lipids, known as a wax ester.

  • Lights on fishing nets save turtles and dolphins
    on December 5, 2019 at 4:31 pm

    Placing lights on fishing nets reduces the chances of sea turtles and dolphins being caught by accident, new research shows.

  • Whaling and climate change led to 100 years of...
    on December 3, 2019 at 2:10 pm

    New research reveals how penguins have dealt with more than a century of human impacts in Antarctica and why some species are winners or losers in this rapidly changing ecosystem.

  • First recording of a blue whale's heart rate
    on November 25, 2019 at 10:34 pm

    With a lot of ingenuity and a little luck, researchers monitored the heart rate of a blue whale in the wild. The measurement suggests that blue whale hearts are operating at extremes -- and may limit the whale's size.


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.

  • Killer whale grandmothers boost survival of calves
    on December 9, 2019 at 8:00 pm

    Post-menopausal killer whale grandmothers improve the chances of survival for their grand-calves, new research has found.

  • Lights on fishing nets save turtles and dolphins
    on December 5, 2019 at 3:20 pm

    Placing lights on fishing nets reduces the chances of sea turtles and dolphins being caught by accident, new research shows.

  • Whales may owe their efficient digestion to...
    on December 5, 2019 at 3:19 pm

    A study by researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) shows that the microbial communities inside whales may play an important role in the digestion of one of the ocean's most abundant carbon-rich lipids, known as a wax ester. Their findings were published Dec. 2 in the Journal of the International Society for Microbial Ecology.

  • 3-D printing is helping museums in repatriation...
    on December 4, 2019 at 1:24 pm

    Manchester Museum recently returned items taken from Australia more than 100 years ago to Aboriginal leaders, the latest move in an ongoing debate over calls to "repatriate" museum artifacts to their countries of origin.

  • Study reveals climate change impact on Antarctic...
    on December 4, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    Antarctic penguins have been on the forefront of climate change, experiencing massive changes to their natural habitat as the world's temperatures and human activity in the region have increased. Now, new research has revealed how penguins have dealt with more than a century of human impacts in Antarctica and why some species are winners or losers in this rapidly changing ecosystem.