Does a whale have a face?

From: Howard Garrett (
Date: Fri Feb 18 2000 - 14:59:24 EST


I was just wondering if a whale has a "face", or if
its face is known by a different name. Thank you, and
God Bless.


Dear Rich,

        Whales (and dolphins and porpoises) don't have "faces" like primates do,
in the sense of being able to make expressions and gestures with their
facial muscles. In order to be as rigid and streamlined as possible
cetaceans generally have torpedo-shaped heads that don't allow for such
movements. There may be much more significance to their eye and jaw
movements than human observers may understand, however. In scientific
literature the protruding jaws of cetaceans are called the rostrum.

Howard Garrett
Tokitae Orca Conservation Foundation
Greenbank WA 98253
(360) 678-3451

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