Whales Essay

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Whale weighs as much as 20 elephants but lives beneath the sea. The blue

whale is Earth's largest animal. Larger than the largest of ancient

dinosaurs, blue whales can grow to be more than 100 feet (30 meters) long

and weigh nearly 150 tons. Not all whales are so large. The much smaller

pilot whale grows to about 28 feet (8.5 meters) in length. And dolphins,

which belong to the whale family, range only from 3 to 13 feet (1 to 4

meters). Although whales spend their lives in the sea, they are, like

humans, warm-blooded mammals. After a baby whale is born, it nurses on its

mother's milk, just like the young of land mammals.

Whales are members of the order Cetacea, along with dolphins, porpoises, and

the narwhal. There are
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Among these are the black right whale (Eubalaena glacialis)

of both northern and southern seas. Scientists believe that those in the

western North Atlantic may be gradually increasing in numbers. However,

populations in the eastern North Atlantic and in both the eastern and

western North Pacific show no signs of recovery, and only a few remain in

each area. An estimated 1,500 to 3,000 occur in the southern oceans, with

little evidence of a significant increase in population sizes in most areas.

Some scientists place the southern right whale in a separate species: E.

australis. Black right whales reach lengths of 70 feet (21 meters) and are

black on the upper body. The underside is sometimes paler in color. The

baleen plates in the mouth may be more than 8 feet (2.4 meters) long.

Toothed Whales

The toothed whales include more than 65 species in six different families.

Among these are the true dolphins (family Delphinidae), which includes the

pilot whales (genus Globicephala) and the killer whale (Orcinus orca),

largest of the oceanic dolphins. Killer whales prefer coastal waters to the

open ocean. They hunt in schools and, though relatively small at 30 feet (9

meters), will attack other whales two or three times their size.

Two other families include the true porpoises (Phocoenidae), which are

marine species, and the river dolphins (Platanistidae), consisting of six

species of

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