Subject: "Killer" Whales?

Phil Colla (pcolla@cts.com)
Sun, 15 Feb 1998 23:22:05 -0800

>                     Why are killer whales called killer whales? If they
>interact with humans so well how did they get there name?

While most odontocetes (toothed whales) are killers in some
fashion, orcas have displayed some spectacular attacks in the past,
enough to earn them the name "killer" in spite of the fact that
they do not go after humans.  Perhaps, in the days when the whales
were given the name "killer", they were overly feared due to a lack
of knowledge.  In more recent years (say the last 20-30 or so), it
has become apparent that the name is a misnomer -- with regard to
humans.
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Phillip Colla                          pcolla@cts.com