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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

  • 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 […]

  • Finding Acceptance
    by Dr. Astrid van Ginneken on January 30, 2018 at 2:16 pm

    The second in a series of video excerpts from our Celebrating Science workshop held on July 21, 2017, on San Juan Island. Dr. Astrid van Ginneken - Finding Acceptanc […]

  • How do Orcas cope with loss?
    by Dr. Astrid van Ginneken on January 29, 2018 at 10:22 pm

    The first in a series of video excerpts from our Celebrating Science workshop held on July 21, 2017, on San Juan Island. Dr. Astrid van Ginneken - How do Orcas cope with loss? […]


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

  • Whales lost their teeth before evolving hair-like...
    on November 29, 2018 at 7:24 pm

    Rivaling the evolution of feathers in dinosaurs, one of the most extraordinary transformations in the history of life was the evolution of baleen -- rows of flexible hair-like plates that blue whales, humpbacks and other marine mammals use to filter relatively tiny prey from gulps of ocean water. Now, scientists have discovered an important intermediary link in the evolution of this innovative feeding strategy: an ancient whale that had neither teeth nor baleen. […]

  • Whale songs' changing pitch may be response to...
    on November 28, 2018 at 11:21 pm

    Blue whales have been dropping pitch incrementally over several decades, but the cause has remained a mystery. A new study finds a seasonal variation in the whales' pitch correlated with breaking sea ice in the southern Indian Ocean. The new research also extends the mysterious long-term falling pitch to related baleen whales and rules out noise pollution as the cause of the global long-term trend, according to the study's authors. […]

  • A bigger nose, a bigger bang: Size matters for...
    on November 15, 2018 at 7:50 pm

    A new study sheds light on how toothed whales adapted their sonar abilities to occupy different environments. The study shows that as animals grew bigger, they were able to put more energy into their echolocation sounds -- but surprisingly, the sound energy increased much more than expected. […]

  • Humpback whales come to the Mediterranean to...
    on November 15, 2018 at 4:53 pm

    Although the presence of humpback whales in the Mediterranean has been considered unusual, it is known that their visits have increased in the last 150 years. A recent study indicates that what motivates these cetacean mammals to enter these waters is the search for food. […]

  • Killer whales share personality traits with...
    on November 15, 2018 at 3:46 pm

    Killer whales display personality traits similar to those of humans and chimpanzees, such as playfulness, cheerfulness and affection, according to new research. […]


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.

  • Radical environmentalists are fighting climate...
    on December 12, 2018 at 1:02 pm

    Climate change, deforestation, widespread pollution and the sixth mass extinction of biodiversity all define living in our world today – an era that has come to be known as "the Anthropocene". These crises are underpinned by production and consumption which greatly exceeds global ecological limits, but blame is far from evenly shared. […]

  • Arctic's record warming driving 'broad change' in...
    on December 11, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    Global warming is heating the Arctic at a record pace, driving broad environmental changes across the planet, including extreme storms in the United States and Europe, a major US scientific report said Tuesday. […]

  • Researchers consider whether supernovae killed...
    on December 11, 2018 at 4:12 pm

    About 2.6 million years ago, an oddly bright light arrived in the prehistoric sky and lingered there for weeks or months. It was a supernova some 150 light years away from Earth. Within a few hundred years, long after the strange light in the sky had dwindled, a tsunami of cosmic energy from that same shattering star explosion could have reached our planet and pummeled the atmosphere, touching off climate change and triggering mass extinctions of large ocean animals, including a shark species […]

  • Humans may be reversing the climate clock, by 50...
    on December 10, 2018 at 8:00 pm

    Our future on Earth may also be our past. In a study published Monday (Dec. 10, 2018) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers show that humans are reversing a long-term cooling trend tracing back at least 50 million years. And it's taken just two centuries. […]

  • Fraser River chinook critical to orcas are in...
    on December 10, 2018 at 3:20 pm

    Fraser River chinook, one of the most important food sources for southern resident killer whales, are in steep decline and should be listed for protection as an endangered species, a Canadian independent science committee said. […]