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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.

  • Beaked whales' incredible diving abilities...
    on February 6, 2019 at 9:14 pm

    A new study provides the first record of the diving behavior of Cuvier's beaked whales in US Atlantic waters. The species is Earth's deepest-diving mammal but spends very little recovery time at the surface. The new data, from 5,926 dives recorded off Cape Hatteras, N.C., shows them routinely diving more than a mile while holding their breath for over an hour. These whales push the limits of mammalian physiology. […]

  • Plastic in Britain's seals, dolphins and whales
    on January 31, 2019 at 1:43 pm

    Microplastics have been found in the guts of every marine mammal examined in a new study of animals washed up on Britain's shores. […]

  • Why do beaked whales return to a Navy sonar range...
    on January 29, 2019 at 3:19 pm

    Using data from underwater robots, scientists have discovered that beaked whales prefer to feed within parts of a Navy sonar test range off Southern California that have dense patches of deep-sea squid. A new study shows that beaked whales need these prey hotspots to survive, and that similar patches do not exist in nearby 'sonar-free' areas. […]

  • Humpback whales' songs at subarctic feeding areas...
    on January 23, 2019 at 1:22 pm

    Humpback whales overwintering in feeding areas may sing complex, progressive songs which closely resemble those associated with breeding grounds, according to a new study. […]

  • Piece to the puzzle of baleen whales' evolution
    on January 22, 2019 at 3:45 pm

    A researcher has added another piece to the puzzle of the evolution of modern baleen whales with a new study examining the teeth and enamel of baleen whales' ancestors. […]


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.

  • Space junk harpooned like whale in orbit-cleanup...
    on February 15, 2019 at 7:57 pm

    A harpoon flung from a satellite has successfully captured a piece of pretend space junk, like a whale. […]

  • Activists file suit to stop dolphin hunting in...
    on February 14, 2019 at 8:23 am

    Environmental campaigners have filed an unprecedented lawsuit in a bid to halt the so-called "drive hunting" of dolphins in Japan, arguing the practice is cruel and illegal. […]

  • Giant 'megalodon' shark extinct earlier than...
    on February 13, 2019 at 11:00 am

    Megalodon—a giant predatory shark that has inspired numerous documentaries, books and blockbuster movies—likely went extinct at least one million years earlier than previously thought, according to new research published Feb. 13 in PeerJ—the Journal of Life and Environmental Sciences. […]

  • New study finds ecosystem changes following loss...
    on February 13, 2019 at 10:00 am

    A new study has documented unexpected consequences following the decline of great white sharks from an area off South Africa. The study found that the disappearance of great whites has led to the emergence of sevengill sharks, a top predator from a different habitat. A living fossil, sevengill sharks closely resemble relatives from the Jurassic period, unique for having seven gills instead of the typical five in most other sharks. […]

  • Marine life typically thrives in the tropics –...
    on February 12, 2019 at 3:29 pm

    Life in the sea isn't easy. Talk to most people about the ocean and they are likely to imagine a tropical scene with a stretch of golden sand and warm, clear water. The reality is often quite different – the marine environment can be a surprisingly cold place. […]