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Humback Whale

What do you know about cetaceans?

Whales, dolphins, and porpoises all belong to the same taxonomic order called cetaceans.  Cetaceans are truly remarkable animals!  They are mammals which means they are warm-blooded, they have at least a few hairs on their bodies, and they nourish their young with milk. Cetaceans spend their whole lives in water and some live in family groups called "pods."    Cetaceans are known for their seemingly playful behavior including "breaching," "spyhopping," or "tail slapping."

How many kinds of cetaceans are there?

Lots!  Over 70 species of whales, dolphins, and porpoises populate the world's oceans.  To study these cetaceans we categorize the species into two main groups: baleen whales (or, mysticetes) and toothed whales (or, odontocetes).

stylized baleen.jpg (9640 bytes)

Baleen whales are very large, have paired blow holes, and characteristic baleen plates that they use to filter food. Would you like to learn more about baleen whales?

zecca_pacificwsth.jpg (6877 bytes)

Toothed whales have (surprise) 1 to 65 teeth depending on the species and tend to be smaller than baleen whales.  Toothed whales have a single blowhole and do not have baleen plates. Would you like to learn more about toothed whales?

What are some other characteristics of cetaceans ?

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