Subject: sperm whale name

roman (jroman@GNV.IFAS.UFL.EDU)
Wed, 03 Mar 1999 10:12:59 +0100

>why is  a  sperm whale named so?   I cannot find the answer anywhere
>---
>student teacher

Dear Andrea:

Sperm whales have a reservoir of waxy liquid in their head that helps them
to echolocate, or find their way in the ocean using sound.  Whalers thought
that this wax was the whale's sperm, and called it spermacetti.
Spermacetti was used in candles, ointments, and cosmetics.  The whalers
named the whale "sperm whale" for this trait.

Best,

Joe

Joseph Roman
University of Florida
Wildlife Ecology and Conservation
PO Box 12253
Gainesville, FL 32604
(352) 379-8096
jroman@ufl.edu