What makes Whales Mammals?

Do you know what makes whales mammals? Let’s discover the fact in detail. The whales are a large group of aquatic animals that vary in size from about 4 feet in length to nearly 100 feet. During the evolution of mammals tens of millions of years ago one group returned to live in water.

What makes whales mammals?

These mammals became streamlined in shape, developed a powerful tail and front limbs for use as steering fins, and lost the use of the back limbs. Whales, descendants of this group, are mammals because they breathe air, are warm-blooded and suckle their young with milk.

They have lost the mammalian coat of hair in order to help them swim, but they have lost the mammalian coat of hair in order to help them swim, but they have replaced it with an insulating coat of thick blubber.

What makes Whales Mammals

The Sperm Whale is a toothed whale which appears to be all head. It is a valuable whale and has been ruthlessly hunted by man for centuries.
Dolphins (right) differ from porpoises (below) by having a beak, a narrower head and a different shape of the dorsal fin.

What makes Whales Mammals

The killer Whale is reputed to be the most ferocious animal of the sea. It hunts in packs and will feed on anything including seals, sealions, penguins and even other whales.

How do whales feed?

We all know that the whales are huge mammals (the Blue Whale is probably the largest animal that has ever lived on the earth) but it may surprise you to learn that the biggest whales feed on the tiny organisms that make up plankton.

There are two sorts of whales; the toothed whales and the baleen whales. The toothed whales have rows of large but quite ordinary teeth and catch crustaceans, squids, fishes and some smaller marine mammals. Instead of teeth, the baleen whales grow thin plates of horny outgrowths (whalebone) from the roof of the mouth, which hang down on both sides of the mouth.

These plates filter out tons of plankton form the water as the whale cruises along with its mouth gaping. As the mouth closes, water is forced out through the plates, and the whale’s huge tongue licks off the plankton and pushes it down its throat.

What makes Whales Mammals

The red arrow in this drawing shows the flow of water out through the sieve of baleen plates of a baleen whale. Some plates have been removed to make this clearer. (Rub your tongue over the roof of your mouth and you will feel the ridges similar to those from which the plates of the baleen whale have been developed).

Do whales spout Water?

You have no doubt seen films or photographs of whales sending up impressive plumes of what looks very much like water. The usual cry of whalers is ‘That she blows!’ for this was and occasionally still is the way the whales are spotted.

However, the spout is not so much water as steam. After a diver lasting perhaps up to an hour, the used air in the whale’s lungs becomes hot and laden with moisture. As it rolls on the surface the whale opens its single nostril, the blowhole, and blasts this warm humid air into air which is often freezing cold.

The moisture in the whale’s breath immediately condenses and it is this pin-points its position as a spout visible form a considerable distance.

What makes Whales Mammals

The dimensions of the Blue Whale are breathtaking. A 100-ton specimen and a cart-horse are shown here drawn to the same scale.

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