WHAT ARE WHALES?
Put simply, Whales are large, intelligent, warmblooded, aquatic mammals. They breathe air through a
blowhole and into their lungs - unlike fish who breathe using gills. Whales have sleek, streamlined bodies that move easily through the water. They are the only mammals, other than the manatee (seacows), that live their entire lives in the water, and the only mammals that have adapted to life in the open oceans. Whales also give birth to live young.
The word 'Whale' is the common name for various marine mammals of the order Cetacea. The term whale sometimes refers to all cetaceans, but more often than not it excludes dolphins and porpoises, which belong to suborder Odontoceti (toothed whales). This suborder also includes the sperm whale, killer whale, pilot whale, and beluga whale.
The other Cetacean suborder Mysticeti (baleen whales) are filter feeders that eat small organisms caught by straining seawater through a comblike structure found in the mouth called baleen. This suborder includes the blue whale, the humpback whale, the bowhead whale and the minke whale. All Cetacea have forelimbs modified as fins, a tail with horizontal flukes, and nasal openings (blowholes) on top of the head.
Whales collectively inhabit all the world's oceans and number in the millions, with annual population growth rate estimates for various species ranging from 3% to 13%. For centuries, whales have been hunted for meat and as a source of raw materials. By the middle of the 20th century, however, industrial whaling had left many species seriously endangered, leading to the end of whaling in all but a few countries.
It is estimated that the great artist and visionary inventor DaVinci had an IQ of 158. Cetacean intelligence is usually gauged by allometric analysis of brain size compared to body weight.
Sperm Whales have the largest brain mass of any living animal, weighing in at 7.8 kg where as a male adult human brain weighs, at the most 1.4 kg. The whales form of song is also the most complex even more so than birds.
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Photo care of http://zonabg.info/History.60_65/7536.Otkriha-ogromen-kit-w-Temza/ and http://www.saawinternational.org/whaling.htm
Based on an article by http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whale