Dear Kim Marshall, My name is Kristen. I am 10 years old. I love whales very
much. In school, I am learning about whales. All of the students each got to
pick a whale to research about, and I picked the gray whale. After we do a
report about our whale, we will be going on a whale watch to Cape-Cod for
four days. It sounds so much fun! So if you could, could you please send me
as much information as possible, on the gray whale. I would really
appreciate it if you did. Thank you so much.
Please visit WhaleNet¹s archived answers for information about gray whales
h=whale.wheelock.edu. Below is some general information to get you started.
Unknown. The oldest fossil is only 150,000 years old. Nothing like it is
known from before then. It is a highly derived species (large cranium for a
mysticete, for example) with retained primitive characteristics (large
sineusoidal flukes and flippers, non descript pigmentation patterns).
Gray or Grey?
Common name of the species was "scrag whale" in the Atlantic and until the
mid 1850s. It had become extinct in the eastern Atlantic about 1000 years
ago and by the 1830s in the western Atlantic, all before being recognized by
science. In the 1840s Danish naturalist Daniel Eschricht reviewed a
subfossil specimen unearthed in Sweden by Liljeborg (which he named Ballena
robustus). Eschricht believed the species deserved a separate genus and even
family. John Gray concurred, but before Eschricht could do the work, he
died, and Gray established the new family and genus in Eschricht's honor.
Gray's whale remained in academic obscurity until Charles Scammon made a
study of them and published in his Marine Mammals of the North Pacific.
The Gray whale has the longest migration of all whales. Humpback whales and
gray whales also have the most predictable migration patterns traveling
along coastlines year after year on the same time schedule from the tropics
in winter to poleward feeding areas in the summer months (N. hemispshere).
Reference: firstname.lastname@example.org (Pieter Folkens)
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