Subject: baleen versus toothed whales

Peter Scheifele (
Mon, 24 Mar 1997 22:39:52 -0500

Dear Amy,
I wrote as quick as I could...baleen is an evolutionary adaptation that
allows a really large animal (such as a blue whale) to eat enough food to
keep itself alive and healthy.  Notice that most of the toothed whales are
small by comparison With the exception of sperm whales and orcas who eat
large food items.  If you were a baleen whale you'd need to eat a lot.  By
gulping huge amounts of water then straining it out through your baleen
plates you can capture a LOT of food!

At 08:06 PM 3/24/97 -0500, you wrote:
>Dear Peter,
>		I need an answer soon. Could you tell me why baleen whales have
>their baleen plates and can't just have teeth like the other whales?
>What's so special about them?
>																					Your eager friend,
>																					Amy Henderson #1 4th grader Waterloo
Peter M. Scheifele
National Undersea Research Center
University of Connecticut
Bioacoustic Research
1084 Shennecossett Road
Groton,  CT  06340-6097
Voice:  (860) 405-9103
FAX:  (860) 445-2969