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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.

  • No apparent shortage of prey for southern...
    on October 12, 2021 at 3:22 pm

    A popular belief that there are fewer Chinook salmon during the summer in Canadian waters for southern resident killer whales, compared to an abundance of fish for northern resident killer whales, has been debunked by a new study.

  • New York waters may be an important, additional...
    on September 23, 2021 at 3:56 pm

    A new study finds that that some large whale species (humpback, fin and minke whales) use the waters off New York and New Jersey as a supplemental feeding area feasting on two different types of prey species.

  • Proactive conservation of New Zealand blue whales
    on September 15, 2021 at 5:51 pm

    Researchers have developed a method for forecasting the locations where a distinct population of New Zealand blue whales are most likely to occur up to three weeks in advance.

  • ‘Whoop’ – new autonomous method precisely...
    on September 15, 2021 at 1:54 pm

    One of the frequently used methods to monitor endangered whales is called passive acoustics technology, which doesn't always perform well. In the increasingly noisy ocean, current methods can mistake other sounds for whale calls. This high 'false positive' rate hampers scientific research and hinders conservation efforts. Researchers used artificial intelligence and machine learning methods to develop a new and much more accurate method of detecting Right whale up-calls -- a short 'whoop' sound […]

  • Warming Atlantic drives right whales towards...
    on September 1, 2021 at 11:14 pm

    Warming oceans have driven the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale population from its traditional and protected habitat, exposing the animals to more lethal ship strikes, disastrous commercial fishing entanglements and greatly reduced calving rates. Without improving its management, the right whale populations will decline and potentially become extinct in the coming decades, according to a recent report.


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.

  • Who's been kissing who? Prairie dog 'greet...
    on October 15, 2021 at 2:03 pm

    Prairie dogs—those chubby little burrowing rodents found in grasslands across the central and western United States—may not have TikTok or Instagram but they do have intricate social networks. Understanding their connections, interactions and surprisingly complex world could help wildlife conservationists more successfully relocate and reintroduce species into the wild, according to a new study by University of Arizona behavioral ecologist Jennifer Verdolin.

  • Plankton may head poleward as a result of global...
    on October 15, 2021 at 1:46 pm

    Ocean warming caused by anthropogenic greenhouse-gas emissions will prompt many species of marine plankton to seek out new habitats, in some cases as a matter of survival. ETH Zurich researchers expect many organisms to head to the poles and form new communities—with unforeseeable consequences for marine food webs.

  • Sea lion colony in Mexico defies declining numbers
    on October 15, 2021 at 8:10 am

    The population of California sea lions is down dramatically due to climate change, but in one natural refuge area off the coast of northwest Mexico, they are doing well and delighting tourists who dare to swim with them.

  • The Southern Ocean's role in driving global...
    on October 14, 2021 at 6:08 pm

    The Southern Ocean's role in driving the global carbon cycle may be stronger than expected as the biological carbon pump is not "switched off" in winter as previously thought.

  • No apparent shortage of prey for southern...
    on October 12, 2021 at 3:52 pm

    A popular belief that there are fewer Chinook salmon during the summer in Canadian waters for southern resident killer whales, compared to an abundance of fish for northern resident killer whales, has been debunked by a study led by scientists at the University of British Columbia.