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Whales are a widely distributed and diverse group of fully aquatic placental marine mammals. They are an informal grouping within the infraorder Cetacea, usually excluding dolphins and porpoises. Whales, dolphins and porpoises belong to the order Cetartiodactyla with even-toed ungulates and their closest living relatives are the hippopotamuses, having diverged about 40 million years ago. The two parvorders of whales, baleen whales (Mysticeti) and toothed whales (Odontoceti), are thought to have split apart around 34 million years ago. The whales comprise eight extant families: Balaenopteridae (the rorquals), Balaenidae (right whales), Cetotheriidae (the pygmy right whale), Eschrichtiidae (the grey whale), Monodontidae (belugas and narwhals), Physeteridae (the sperm whale), Kogiidae (the dwarf and pygmy sperm whale), and Ziphiidae (the beaked whales).

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Whale, whale, whale.

Whales. They're beautiful and they have a sense of humor.

Contributed by Rachel Russell

A whale named NOC at the National Marine Mammal Foundation in California developed a way to imitate human voices. Despite the fact that whales have very different vocal mechanisms to humans, NOC managed to lower his voice several octaves to bring it closer to human speech.

Contributed by Sam Feldstone

Geographic isolation among humpback whales is apparently rare. It's interesting why and how this particular group remained isolated for so long.

Contributed by Adam Greenlee


Great action shot of a whale soaring over the sea.

Contributed by Ryann Burnett

The Humpback Whale, (Megaptera novaeangliae) is a species of baleen whale. One of the largest rorqual species, adults range in length from 12-16 metres (39-52 ft) and weigh approximately 36,000 kilograms (79,000 Ib).

Contributed by Rochelle Warren

The oldest "modern whale" evolved about 35 million years ago! The Gray Whale is the oldest living mammal on Earth yet in the 18th century we almost hunted them to extinction. Whaling is still going on today. You are lucky to see a Fin Whale in the whole southern hemisphere of the Earth. That is how you know you messed up as a species. When you hunt your oldest living cousin to near extinction. Source(s):Knowledge gathered over the years. Different books and documentaries, whales are my favorite animal.

Contributed by Mason Slaughter

Whales in fact were land animals and through evolution lost the need for their legs as time continued.

Contributed by Karishma Patel

Cute Beluga Whale in the Artic

They can actually swim BACKWARDS!!

Contributed by Vanessa Lam

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