The Greek word phállaina came to Latin as ballaena, which in turn passed into Spanish as whale. The notion allows naming a animal Marine from the group of cetaceans which can measure more than thirty meters in length.
The whale is the largest animal in the world. It’s about a mammal whose forelimbs are fins, it has a single horizontal fin and in the upper part of the head it has openings that allow it to expel the air.
In their jaws, whales have beards (also called, like the animal, whales). These are flexible sheets located in a pair of parallel rows, which are similar to combs. Made of keratin, the whale baleen allows food to be filtered: the cetaceans open their mouths when swimming so that the water enters and then, through the action of the throat and the tongue, they expel it again, leaving the food (krill, crustaceans, fish, etc.) retained.
Another peculiarity of whales is that tail, by its disposition, it allows them to ascend to the surface with ease. This is very important since the whales must rise to breathe, having the possibility of being about an hour below the Water.
Whales live for about thirty years and usually have only one calf each after a gestation of twelve months. These animals usually mate and have their young in seas warm and then migrate to colder waters to feed.
The Southern Right Whale, the greenland whale and the glacial right whale are some of the species existing whale.
In fiction, the figure of the whale has a fairly important place, as well as that of other marine animals, such as the shark and the octopus. In this case, one of the most important stories is undoubtedly «Moby-Dick«, Written by the American author Herman Melville and published in 1851. Broadly speaking, the book tells of Captain Ahab’s voyages aboard the Pequod, a ship whaler with which he tried to fulfill his objective of catching a large white sperm whale.
Another of the species that has attracted the most attention of the human being is the killer whale, which receives the nickname of “killer whale”, an expression that does not represent it at all. The killer whale is not a whale, but a toothed cetacean that is part of Delphinidae, The family of ocean dolphins; in fact, the genus to which they belong, called Orcinus, does not have any other species. It is the largest known dolphin in the world and has adapted to all oceans.
In 1984 a truly amazing discovery took place about whales and their abilities. A group of scientists from the National Marine Mammal Foundation of California, United States, began to notice certain strange sounds in the vicinity of the whale and dolphin tank, as if they were conversations between people, although they did not understand what what they said. A few days later, everyone’s jaws dropped when a diver came out of the tank and asked who had called him: no human had spoken to him, but it was one of the whales, called NOC, who had learned to imitate our sounds.
NOC was a white whale that went down in history as the first to modify its speech mechanisms to imitate the voice human. It is important to understand that to carry out such a feat he had to lower several octaves and modify the pressure of his nasal tract, among other adjustments in his muscles, since the way whales emit sounds is very different from ours.