Subject: Smallest whale

Jennifer D. Philips (
Mon, 02 Nov 1998 09:35:48 -1000

>What is the smallest whale?

The smallest of the baleen whales is the pygmy right whale, which may only
grow to be 20 feet long.  BUT, since the pygmy right whale has rarely been
seen, very very little is known about it, and it may be larger than that.
The smallest of the well known whales is the minke whale, which grows to be
about 35 feet.  

The toothed whales are much smaller than the baleen whales.  These are not
the true "whales" (which usually means baleen whales).  There's the dwarf
sperm whale, the melon headed whale, and the pygmy killer whale,  each of
which get to maximum lengths of about 8 feet (the size of regular
dolphins).  But, remember that all whales and dolphins together are called
"Cetaceans".  Some Cetaceans have baleen instead of teeth, and they are
called whales.  All other Cetaceans have teeth.  Some toothed Cetaceans are
called whales, some are dolphins, and some are porpoises.  

Thanks for your question!  Write again anytime.

Aloha -
Jen Philips

Jennifer D. Philips

Marine Mammal Research Program
HIMB, University of Hawaii at Manoa
PO Box 1106			
Kailua, HI  96734
voice:  (808) 247-5063
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