are dolphins whales (fwd)

From: Pita Admininstrator (pita@whale.wheelock.edu)
Date: Wed Jan 26 2005 - 17:08:57 EST

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    > Are dolphins and porpises whales? thank you.

    Cetacea is an order of mammmals which contains whales,
    dolphins and porpoises.

    The word itself comes from the Greek 'ketos' which
    means literally 'something large in the sea.'
    Therefore, it is the order of 'whales' to which
    dolphins an porpoises belong.

    Cetacea is divided into three sub-orders:Archaeoceti
    (archaic whales), Mysticeti (baleen whales), and
    Odontoceti (toothed whales). Dolphins and porpoises
    are in the last group which itself is divided into
    several families including sperm whales, beaked
    whales, oceanic dolphins, propoises, and several
    groups of river dolphins. The super-family
    Delphinoidea contains oceanic dolphins, porpoises, and
    rivier dolphins.

    So, biologically, dolphins are small whales. However,
    in common usagae, the term whale is usually reserved
    for only baleen whales, sperm whales, and beaked
    whales. To complicate things, pilot whale and killer
    whale are called whales, but are in the family of
    dolphins. They are actually the largest dolphins.

    Cheers,

    Peiter Folkens



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