Subject: Many whale questions

Martine Berube (
Wed, 20 May 1998 17:42:54 +0200 (MET DST)

Dear Mrs. Gladkosky,
Sorry for the delay, but finally here are my answers to your students'
1- How did lob-tailing get its name?
Lob means hit or throw and tailing, projection, which describe the behavior;
slapping the tail flukes on the surface of the water.

2- How long is a whale intestine?
I am sorry, I really don't know.

3-How many species of whales there are:

There are ten kinds of baleen whales. These are divided into three main groups: 

    (1) right whales 
    (2) gray whales 
    (3) rorquals 

There are three main types of right whales:

    (1) bowhead whales 
    (2) black right whales 
    (3) pygmy right whales 

There are six main types of rorquals:

    (1) blue whales 
    (2) Bryde's whales 
    (3) fin whales 
    (4) humpback whales 
    (5) minke whales 
    (6) sei whales 

There are about sixty-five kinds of toothed whales. They are divided into
five groups:

    (1) sperm whales 
    (2) beaked whales 
    (3) belugas and narwhals 
    (4) dolphins and porpoises 
    (5) river dolphins 

4- How many bones in a whales
The number of bones is different from one species to another as the number
of vertebrae in different species of the cetacea varies considerably. The
number of bones identify in a sperm whale was 164. For more information
please look at this website:

5- How large is a sperm whale's brian?
The brain of a sperm whale weight between 9.2 and 6.4kg with an average of

Have a good day,

At 09.35 AM 12-05-1998 -0400, you wrote:
>Dear Martine, 
>We are a class of fifth graders at Chester Elementary School in 
>Connecticut.  We were wondering why "lob-tailing" is called LOB 
>tailing or how did lob-tailing get its name.  This week we will be 
>going to Mystic Seaport which is a whaling museum.  We are beginning 
>our big whaling unit for the year and this question is a "beginning" 
>question.  Another question a student has asked, namely, 
>Kelly,...About how long is a whale's (perhaps a humpback) intestines.  
>Robyn would like to know how many species of whales there are...She is 
>also going look this up.  Charlotte and Christine want to know how 
>many bones are in a whale's body, or does it depend on the kind of 
>whale?  Matt is wo ndering about how large a sperm whale's brain is.  
>We would appreciate any answers or encouragement you can give us.  
>Respond to us by replying to the e-mail in care of Mrs. Gladkosky.  
>Thanks!  Mrs. Fiore's fifth grade class.
Martine Berube
Unit of Evolutionary Genetics
Department of Molecular Biology
Free University of Brussels (ULB)
CP 244
Bld du Triomphe
B-1050 Brussels, Belgium
Tel: +32 2 650 5427
Fax: +32 2 650 5421