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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.

  • A large number of gray whales are starving and...
    on January 22, 2021 at 3:16 pm

    It is now the third year that gray whales have been found in very poor condition or dead in large numbers along the west coast of Mexico, USA and Canada, and scientist have raised their concerns. An international study suggests that starvation is contributing to these mortalities.

  • A bucket of water can reveal climate change...
    on January 12, 2021 at 4:01 pm

    We know very little about marine life in the Arctic. Now researchers are trying to change that. They have shown that a simple water sample makes it possible to monitor the presence, migration patterns and genetic diversity of bowhead whales in an otherwise hard-to-reach area. The method can be used to understand how climate changes and human activities impact life in the oceans.

  • Hormone metabolites found in feces give...
    on December 21, 2020 at 10:31 pm

    Fecal samples are an effective, non-invasive tool for monitoring gray whale reproduction, stress and other physiological responses.

  • New population of blue whales discovered in the...
    on December 21, 2020 at 8:59 pm

    An international team of researchers has discovered what it believes to be a new population of blue whales in the western Indian Ocean.

  • Humpback whale songs provide insight to...
    on December 18, 2020 at 6:19 pm

    Following reports of unusually low whale numbers that began in 2015-16, researchers examined song chorusing recorded at six sites off Maui.


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.

  • How did forelimb function change as vertebrates...
    on January 22, 2021 at 7:00 pm

    When tetrapods (four-limbed vertebrates) began to move from water to land roughly 390 million years ago it set in motion the rise of lizards, birds, mammals, and all land animals that exist today, including humans and some aquatic vertebrates such as whales and dolphins.

  • A large number of gray whales are starving and...
    on January 22, 2021 at 3:55 pm

    It's mid-January 2021, and the first gray whales from the eastern North Pacific population have started to arrive in the breeding lagoons in Baja California, Mexico. Since the start of their southbound migration from their high latitude feeding grounds, several sightings of emaciated gray whales have already been reported along their migration route.

  • Gigantic dinosaur unearthed in Argentina could be...
    on January 21, 2021 at 2:27 pm

    A team of researchers with Naturales y Museo, Universidad de Zaragoza and Universidad Nacional del Comahue has found evidence that suggests the remains of a dinosaur discovered in Argentina in 2012 may represent a creature that was the largest ever to walk the Earth. In their paper published in the journal Cretaceous Research, the group describes the fossilized remains that have been found so far and what they have revealed.

  • Whale carcass washes up on Bali beach
    on January 21, 2021 at 10:57 am

    The rotting carcass of a nearly 14-metre (46-foot) whale washed up Thursday on Bali beach popular with tourists.

  • Gray whale population drops by quarter off U.S....
    on January 21, 2021 at 8:40 am

    Researchers say the population of gray whales off the West Coast of the United States has fallen by nearly one-quarter since 2016, resembling a similar die-off two decades ago.