Whale

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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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  • 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? […]


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.

  • Giant mice threaten rare seabirds on remote...
    on October 22, 2018 at 6:07 pm

    Mice brought to a remote South Atlantic island by sailors in the 19th century are threatening seabirds including the critically endangered Tristan albatross, a British charity said on Monday. […]

  • Breaching dams to save Northwest orcas is...
    on October 19, 2018 at 1:50 pm

    Calls to breach four hydroelectric dams in Washington state have grown louder in recent months as the plight of critically endangered Northwest orcas has captured global attention. […]

  • How we solved an Arctic mercury mystery
    on October 19, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    In the Canadian Arctic, a mystery has troubled scientists and local communities for decades: Why do marine animals in the western Arctic have higher mercury levels than those in the east? […]

  • Arctic sea ice decline driving ocean...
    on October 15, 2018 at 8:03 pm

    Phytoplankton blooms that form the base of the marine food web are expanding northward into ice-free waters where they have never been seen before, according to new research. […]

  • Life-sized plastic whale to raise ocean pollution...
    on October 13, 2018 at 9:11 am

    Artists are putting the finishing touches on an 82-foot-long (24-meter-long) blue whale made from discarded plastic that will be on display near San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge to raise awareness about ocean pollution. […]