Sunday, 8 January 2017

Whale Facts

1) Whales are gigantic aquatic mammals (giving milk to their young ones).
2) Blue whale is the largest ever lived creature, even larger than any dinosaur. Its average length is 29.9 metres (98 ft) and weight  190 metric tons.
3) The sperm whale is the largest toothed predator on the earth.
4) Female whales are generally larger than males, except among sperm whales. (Sexual dimorphism)
5) Fringe-like plates in the mouth which are used to expel water while retaining the krill and plankton is called baleen. It is made of keratin.
6) Whales use throat plates to expand the mouth to take in huge gulps of water.
7) Balaenid whales have heads that can make up 40% of their body mass to take in water.
8) Modified nostrils on top of the heads through which air is taken in and expelled in the form of vapour are called blowholes.
9) Whales are warm-blooded animals (Homoeothermic animals)
10) Whales maintain body temperature even in cold water by having a thick layer of fat under skin called blubber. It's about 11 inches thick. It can constitute as much as 50% of a whales body weight. The primary usage for blubber is insulation from the harsh climate.
11) Whales have stream lined fusiform bodies.
12) First two limbs are modified into flippers. Flippers have 4 digits.
13) Female whales migrate from Northern and Southern Hemispheres to the equator to give birth to babies to avoid severe cold.
14) Humpbacks and blue whales travel thousands of miles without feeding.
15) Whale meat, blubber and baleen have been used by indigenous peoples of the Arctic.
16) The Inuit and the coastal peoples of Vietnam and Ghana hold whale funerals.
17) Small whales such as belugas are kept in captivity and trained to perform tricks.
18) Dolphins which have the word "whale" in their name are killer whale, melon-headed whale, pygmy killer whale, false killer whale, and pilot whale
19) Hippopotamus is the whale's closest land living relative.
20) Humpback whales mostly found in the polar regions.
21) Favourite and primary food of humpback whales is krill.
22) Whales do not have a rigid ribcage as ribs are loosely articulate with thoracic vertebrae at the proximal ends.
23) Balaenid whales are toothless whales with two blowholes (bluewhale)
24) Odontocetes are toothed whales with only one blowhole (spermwhale)
25) Whales send sonar sound waves through an organ called melon.
26) Reflected sound waves are received through fatty tissues in the jaw.
27) Sperm whales hunt squids through suction technique.
28) Ziphiids are beaked whales.
29) Human teeth have dentine where as whale teeth have cementum outside gums.
30) A humpback whale can hold about 5,000 litres of air in its lungs.
31) Whales are fast swimmers in comparison to seals but not so agile.
32) The fin whale can travel at speeds up to 47 kilometres per hour (29 mph).
33) Whales show vertical propelling movement during swimming.
34) Flippers are steering organs in whales.
35) Whales slow down heart rate to conserve oxygen.
36) Oxygen carrying pigments in whales are haemoglobin and myoglobin.
37) Oxygen storing pigment in muscles is myoglobin.
38) Whales have twice the concentration of myoglobin than haemoglobin.
39) Staying of whales close to the surface of water to build oxygen reserves before going for a long dive is called sounding.
40) Whales exhibit monocular vision (two fields) unlike that of binocular version of man (one field).
41) Whales have far more rod cells than cone cells in eyes.
42) The olfactory lobes are absent in toothed whales, so no sense of smell.
43) Bowhead whales possess a vomero-nasal organ to "sniff out" krill.
44) Whales do not have a good sense of taste.
45) Jacobson's organ used to smell food inside the mouth as a zsense of taste.
46) The humpback whale communicates through whale song.
47) Toothed whales generate sonar up to 20,000 watts of sound (+73 dBmor+43 dBw) and be heard for many miles.
48) Captive whales may mimic human speech.
49) Whales emit two distinct kinds of acoustic signals called whistles and clicks.
50) Clicks are quick broad band burst sonar pulses.
51) Pulses in a click train are emitted at intervals of ~35–50 milli seconds.
52) Whistles are narrow-band frequency modulated (FM) signals as contact calls.
53) Whales can teach, learn, cooperate, scheme and grieve.
54) Elongated spindle neurons in the neocortex of whale brain are similar to that of humans meant for social conduct, emotions, judgement and theory of mind.
55) Male sperm whales have the largest brain mass averaging 8,000 cubic centimetres (490 cubic inches) and 7.8 kilograms (17 lb). The average male human brain is 1,450 cubic centimetres (88 cubic inches).
56) The brain to body mass ratio of belugas and narwhals is second only to humans.
57) Small whales show complex play behaviour like  stable underwater raidal air core vortex rings or "bubble rings".
58) Whales produce bubble-nets for the purpose of foraging.
59) Elevation of tail fluke by whale above water for a considerable amount of time is known as "sailing" (southern right whale)
60) Whales exhibit tail-first delivery to prevent the baby from drowning.
61) Whale milk contains high amounts of fat to hasten blubber development in calves.
62) Fat rich whale milk has the consistency of toothpaste.
63) Females are called "cows", males as "bulls" and babies as "calves"
64) The whale which doesn't go to tropics to calve is the southern right whale. (Patagonia and western New Zealand)
65) Toothed whales sleep with one side of the brain at a time.
66) Sperm whales sleep in vertical postures just under the surface during the day.
67) All whales are carnivorous and predatory.
68) Killer whales are dolphins that are called orca.
69) Killer whales kill whales.
70) The polar bear can hunt Arctic whales.
71) A "whale pump" is nitrogenous nutrient mass carried by whales  from the depths back to the surface.
72) Whales excreta that floats on the ocean's surface is a good nutrition for fisheries as it is rich in iron and nitrogen.
73) Whale fall is a whale carcass (dead body) falling to the deep ocean, which is a food for several organisms for decades.
74) Baleen of whales is used as a basket and roofing.
75) The most successful whaling nations are the Netherlands, Japan and the United States.
75) In1982 the International Whaling Commission (IWC) set a catch limit for each country.
76) Gill netting and Seine netting cause mortality in whales.
77) Two whale sanctuaries are the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary and the Indian Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
78) The North Atlantic right whale is Critically Endangered 
79) Blue whale, fin whale, North Pacific right whale, and sei whale are "Endangered"
80) Sperm whale is "Vulnerable"
81) Belugas were the first whales to be kept in captivity.
82) Most species of whale have a fin on their backs known as a dorsal fin.
83) The biggest so far recorded blue whale is a female in the Antarctic Ocean that was 30.5 m long (more than 3.5 times the length of a double-decker bus and as long as a Boeing 737 plane) with an estimated weight of 144 tonnes (almost the same as 2,000 men).
84) The tongue of a blue whale can weigh as much as an elephant and an entire football team could stand on it.
85) The heart of a blue whale is about the size of a VW Beetle car and weighs up to 400 pounds (180 kg) and is the largest known in any animal.
86) The aorta of a whale (major blood vessel) is big enough for a human child to crawl through.
87) A baby blue whale drinks about 225 litres milk.
88) 40-50% of whale milk is fat.
89) Cuvier's beaked whale dives to a depth of 3km for 2 hours.
90) The head of the sperm whale is up to a third of its body length with the heaviest brain in the animal kingdom - up to 9kg.
91) The head consists of a cranial cavity that is large enough to park a car.
92) Head cavity contains a yellowish wax called spermaceti that was much sought after by whalers.
93) The Arctic bowhead whale has the thickest blubber (70 cm thick).
94) Bowhead whales have the longest baleen (5 metres long)
95) The southern right whale has the largest testes where each pair weighs around a tonne.
96) The male narwhal has 2 teeth. The left teeth pierces through the lip to grow upto 2-3 metres.
97) Bowhead whales may be the world’s oldest mammals and are the longest lived of all whales, possibly over 200 years.
98) Beluga whales are known as the"canaries of the sea" because they make chirping sounds like birds.
99) Sperm whales are the loudest whales that make sounds at 230 decibels.
100) Male humpback whales sing the most complex songs including sequences of squeaks, grunts, and other sounds.
101) The humpback whales  make one of the longest migration of any mammal.
102) In 40 years of its lifetime a gray whale travels a distance that is equivalent to a trip to the moon.
103) The fin whale is the second largest whale.
104) The fin whale is known as the "greyhound of the sea" as it reaches a speed of up to 20mph (32kph).
105) A single adult blue whale can consume 3,6000 kg of krill a day.
106) The whale can hold upto 5,000 kg of water and plankton in its mouth.
107) Blue whales can hear each other across distances of up to 1,600km.
108) A newly delivered baby blue whale weighs up to 2,700 kg and up to 8 m long.
105) The calf is suckled 600 litres of milk each day.
106) The calf gains about 90 kg weight every day for its first year.
107) Ambergris, amber grease, dragon's spittle fragrance, floating gold, grey amber, whale gold or whale vomit  is produced in the bile duct of the digestive system of sperm whales. It is found floating on water or in dead sperm whales. It is used as a fixative in perfumes and scents.
108) Whales belong to the infra-order Cetacea.
109) Whales, dolphins and porpoises belong to the order Cetartiodactyla.
110) Whales are the closest living relatives of the hippopotamuses.
111) Whales were evolved about 40 million years ago.
112) Whales comprise eight extant families.
113) Balaenopteridae include rorquals.
114) Balaenidae includes right whales.
115) Cetotheriidae includes pygmy right whales.
116) Eschrichtiidae includes gray whale
117) Monodontidae includes belugas and narwhals.
118) Physeteridae includes sperm whales
119) Kogiidae includes dwarf and pygmy sperm whales
120) Ziphiidae includes beaked whales.
121) Artiodactyla includes both whales and hippopotamuses.
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