An Inuit saying is “We like the way whales think,” and other Native Americans traditions refer to the whale as a symbol of the wisdom of longevity.
Today, most species of large whales are endangered as a result of large-scale whaling during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Some whales live solitary or in small groups.
Given the radically different environment of whales and humans, and the size of whales compared to dolphins or chimpanzees, for instance, it is extremely difficult to test these views experimentally.
Social groups of humpback whales tend to be short-lived, while toothed whales appear to have longer lasting social bonds among groups (Whale Trust 2006).
Like all mammals, whales breathe air into lungs, are warm-blooded, breast-feed their young, and have hair (although very little).
We do know, however, that whales can transmit two sonic probes and send them at any direction at the same time, above, below, ahead, or behind.
Group attacks and feeding are successful tactics and intelligence features used by whales.
Baleen whales have two; toothed whales have one.
Whales and dolphins have created social systems with no classes, castes, or wars.
Whales are members of the order Cetacea, which also includes dolphins and porpoises.
Environmentalists have long argued that some cetaceans, including whales, are endangered by sonar used by advanced navies.
In 2003, British and Spanish scientists suggested in Nature that sonar is connected to whale beachings and to signs that the beached whales have experienced decompression sickness (Jepson et al.
Whales have a sophisticated social system and communications.
The neck vertebrae are fused in most whales, which provides stability during swimming at the expense of flexibility.
Festivals celebrating whales have sprung in both Sitka and Kodiak, Alaska.
Many species of whales have ended up on the list of endangered species, and humpbacked whales alone declined by an estimated 95 percent in just the twentieth century.
The whales' ancestors lived on land, and their adaptations to a fully aquatic life are quite striking.
Whales are broadly classed as predators, but their food ranges from microscopic plankton to very large fish.
Proponents of whale intelligence cite the social behavior of whales and their apparent capacity for language as evidence of a sophisticated intellect.
Many people believe that cetaceans in general, and whales in particular, are highly intelligent animals.
Determining how intelligent whales and dolphins actually are will require further research.
Whales have a unique respiratory system that lets them stay underwater for long periods of time without taking in oxygen.
Mass whale beachings occur in many species, mostly beaked whales that use echolocation systems for deep diving.
Some whales, such as the sperm whale, can stay underwater for up to two hours holding a single breath.
Whales are thought to sleep around 8 hours a day.
All mammals sleep, including whales, but they cannot afford to fall into an unconscious state for too long, since they need to be conscious in order to breathe.
The shapes of whales' spouts when exhaling after a dive, when seen from the right angle, differ between species.
Humans have not always been as kind to whales and dolphins.
Whales, whose representatives include the largest animals that have ever appeared on Earth, are celebrated in art, music, and literature.
Whales breathe through blowholes, located on the top of the head so the animal can remain submerged.
On the other hand, whales have a large area of silent parietal and frontal lobe in their brains.
Whales also have very acute hearing, which gives them advanced echo-location capacities analogous to sonar—but so do bats.
Some cultures associate some level of divinity with the whale, such as in some places in Ghana and Vietnam where funerals are occasionally held for beached whales.
Whales have the largest brain of any animal.
Several species of small whales are caught as bycatch (an incidental catch) in fisheries trying for other species.
Whales, along with most dolphins and porpoises, are descendants of land-living mammals, most likely of the Artiodactyl order.
Most whales do not maintain fixed partnerships during mating; in many species the females have several mates each season.
The hunting of whales is the subject of one of the classics of the English language literary canon, Herman Melville's Moby-Dick.
Melville classified whales as "a spouting fish with a horizontal tail," despite science suggesting otherwise the previous century.
Whales are those cetaceans that are neither dolphins (i.e.
Whales also have very sensitive hearing said to be 20 times as sensitive as that of a human.
Melville's book is an extraordinary work—part adventure story, part metaphysical allegory, and part natural history; it is essentially a complete summary of nineteenth-century knowledge about the biology, ecology, and cultural significance of whales.
Whales also communicate with each other using beautiful lyrical sounds.
Whales can go up to eight months without food.
Conservationists are concerned that seismic testing used for oil and gas exploration may also damage the hearing and echolocation capabilities of whales.
Orcas, or killer whales, are the largest of the dolphins and one of the world's most powerful predators. They feast on marine mammals such as seals, sea lions, and even whales, employing teeth that can be four inches long. They are known to grab seals right off the ice.
When a whale breaches, its body leaves the water. ... Another theory is that breaching may be a form of communicating over great distances; the acoustic signal of a whale breaching can be intense and, as sound travels faster in water than air, it can be a quick way to transmit information such as location and size.Jan 14, 2013
When it comes to the environment and the oceans ecosystem whales help regulate the flow of food by helping to maintain a stable food chain and ensuring that certain animal species do not overpopulate the ocean. ... Even whale poop plays a large role in the environment by helping to offset carbon in the atmosphere.
Whaling is cruel and unnecessary and must stop. Commercial whaling is banned. Trade in whale products is forbidden and demand is falling. Yet, every year, Japan, Norway and Iceland kill around 1,500 whales between them.
Whaling is the hunting of whales for their usable products like meat, oil and blubber. ... By the late 1930s more than 50,000 whales were killed annually In 1986, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) banned commercial whaling because of the extreme depletion of most of the whale stocks.
Orcas are the largest of all carnivores on earth that feed on a wide variety of foods, they are found in almost all oceans, from the tropics to the Arctic and Antarctic where they will go deep into the pack-ice to hunt seals and penguins. They are commonest in coastal waters and in cool temperate and sub polar seas.
Orcas are apex predators, at the top of the food chain. No other animals (except for humans) hunt orcas. Killer whales feed on sea birds, squid, octopuses, sea turtles, sharks, rays and fish. They also eat most marine mammals, such as seals and dugongs.Nov 20, 2014
The killer whales also may kick up the seals to loosen the animals' skin, which they don't eat, says Ingrid Visser of the Orca Research Trust in New Zealand. ... Besides helping to disable the prey, the orcas might fling them up into the air just “for fun,” a cetacean version of “playing with its food,” Westdal says.Oct 29, 2015
Orcas are less common in tropical waters. PREY: The orca is at the top of the marine food web. Their diet items include fish, squid, seals, sea lions, walruses, birds, sea turtles, otters, other whales and dolphins, polar bears and reptiles. They even have been seen killing and eating swimming moose.
Several populations of skilled orcas around the world have learned how to overcome sharks using a combination of superior brain power and brute force. The Great White and Mako are just two of at least nine species of shark known to be eaten by some orca families.Nov 27, 2009
Blue whales filter their food through their baleen plates. Blue whales eat krill (euphausiids) and copepods. A blue whale can eat up to 8,000 lbs. of krill during its peak consumption period. It is estimated to take 2,200 lbs. of food to fill a blue whale's stomach.
A 2002 report estimated there were 5,000 to 12,000 blue whales worldwide, in at least five groups. The IUCN estimates that there are probably between 10,000 and 25,000 blue whales worldwide today.