Whale is the common name for various marine mammals of the order Cetacea. Whales breathe air and are not fish. They are mammals that spend their entire lives in the water. Whales are of two types: toothehed (Odontoceti) and balleen (Mysticeti) wales.
The anatomy of whales can be described as follows:
- Like all mammals, whales breathe air,
- They are warm-blooded,
- They nurse their young with milk from mammary glands,
- They have body hair.
- Beneath the skin lies a layer of fat called blubber, which stores energy and insulates the body.
- Whales have a spinal column, a vestigial pelvic bone,
- Whales have a four-chambered heart.
- The neck vertebrae are typically fused, trading flexibility for stability during swimming.
- Whales breathe via blowholes; baleen whales have two and toothed whales have one. These are located on the top of the head, allowing the animal to remain almost completely submerged whilst breathing. Breathing involves expelling excess water from the blowhole, forming an upward spout, followed by inhaling air into the lungs. Spout shapes differ among species and can help with identification.
The largest whales are blue whales. In fact, the blue whale is the largest animal known to have ever existed at 30 m (98 ft) and 180 tonnes. These huge animals eat about 4 tons of tiny krill each day, obtained by filter feeding through baleen, a comb-like structure that filters the baleen whales' food from the water.