> 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
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.
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