Friday, June 24, 2011

Sperm Whales

The largest of the toothed whales, a sperm whale has the largest brain on Earth and probably dives deeper in the oceans than any other animal. This group also includes the far smaller dwarf and pygmy sperm whales.

Sperm Whales
There are several species of sperm whales. The largest species of sperm whale has been living on Earth for around thirty million years. Pygmy sperm whales and dwarf sperm whales advanced around eight million years in the past. All three species of sperm whales have a barrel-shaped head, a long, narrow bottom jaw with teeth, paddle-shaped flippers, and a blowhole (breathing hole) on the left side of the head. Between dives, the whales come to the surface around every eight minutes to breathe air. Two nasal passages lead from the blowhole; one is used for breathing, while the other produces sound.

Whale Talk
Inside the sperm whales’ large forehead is a structure containing a sticky,waxy oil called spermaceti.  The
Sperm Whalesstructure containing the spermaceti, and the air sacs and air passages around it, form a powerful sonar, or echolocation, system. The whale produces clicking sounds and picks
Sperm Whalesup echoes from its surroundings. That helps it find food in the ocean depths.

The whale also uses clicks to communicate with other whales. A large male makes slow, ringing clicks around once every six seconds. These clicks may help him attract a female, tell other males to keep away, or show off his fitness and size.


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