The whales are mightiest awe inspiring creatures of the world.
They are the descendants of land mammals that took to seas some 70 million years ago.
The first signs in that long marvelous evolution may have come from land mammals wading through shallow waters in search of plentiful of food availability in the deep waters of sea.
The ancestors of whales adapted to ocean life for their survival .
The earliest history is traced to the very known fossil ‘Archaeocetes’ old whale ,closely resembling the modern Whales.
During 20 million years of whale evolution ,the hind legs disappeared ,forelegs became flat flippers and tails acquired dominant role in locomotion .The tail Vertrabrae assumed largest size to accommodate the powerful swimming muscles.
The whales evolved in striking resemblance to fishes, differing in one major respect only.
The fishes have vertical tails and the whales have horizontal tails.
Fishes swim by undulating their bodies and beating their tails from side to side.
Whales swim by fanning their broad tails up and down
The two groups of living whales –Toothed whales and Baleen whales have finally evolved to stay conquering the seas.
Toothed Whales use their teeth not for chewing but to grasp the prey .
Among the toothed kinds are Sperm whales, Porpoises, Dolphins, Belugas, Killer whales, False killer whales, and Pilot whales
The giant of the toothed whale is the Sperm whale
It is nearly 60ft long and weighs about 50 tons ,sometimes more .The Sperm Whale ‘s head is large one ,giving majestic look to the animal. The lower jaw ,a narrow ,long tube containing 36 -60 teeth ,conical ones each weighing a pound.
Toothed whales from the fierce 50 ton Sperm to 8 ft Dolphin are carnivorous animals. Preying on fishes and other creatures in the ocean.
Killer Whales are social creatures, powerful,intelligent breed ,having considerable speed.
They eat fishes, squids.They also devour young walruses,propises, dolphins as well.
Killers in a pack of 40 roam oceans all along .
Killer whales are most vicious predators in the sea.
Killer whales are reported to be friendly ,intelligenty enough to be trained as a performer in aquariums. These whales enjoy leaping out of waters and could be trained to do so on command.
Dolphins are bottle nosed ones found mostly in the temperate waters of Atlantic and pacific oceans.
Dolphins leap out of water and frolic around and thus help drowning swimmers ashore and thus invariably save their lives.
Dolphins live in groups of six to several hundred .They are quick to take care of their younger ones .
In captivity they are very playful and darling ones making mischievous moves. Leap as high as 30 ft ,toss rubber balls and can be trained to do amusing tricks.
Triangular tough plates hang from the roofs of mouths of Baleen Whales .
A Baleen whale’s mouth contains 250- 450 baleen plates hanging one behind other with parting space of ½ in.
The massive tongue ,that weighs as much as a fully grown elephant ,licks off the food and pushes down its throat.
A blue whale consumes about 4 tons of food a day.
The largest Baleen whale is Blue whale –100ft long and weighs upto 135 tons.
Whales travel in groups ,herds .If one whale is in danger ,others will gather to help her out of the danger,very affable in character.
Baleen whale herds move out of polar seas and move on 12000miles roundtrip on annual breeding migration to subtropical breeding areas. The pregnant ones end their journey in the shallow lagoons of California ,Mexico . and give birth to 1500lb –babies upto 14 ft long ones
A new born blue whale may measure 25ft and weigh 21/2 tons.
The new born sucks milk immediately . On mothers milk ,the younf born whale gains upto 200lbs a day. By seven months it is 50 ft long and quite independent to live on.
The whales throw their tails aloft and bring them crashing down on to the surface of sea. This action is called “lobtailing”,just a time for playfulness as the animals dive to enjoy.
Dolphins and other whales frequently ride in the bow waves of passing ships and make high leaps with very high speeds.
Man And The Whale
Man is the common enemy of all whales –Baleen, Toothed, large and small one and all.
For hundred of years , the man has been hunting out the whales for its own use .
The remains of Whale bones unearthed at ALASKIN ESKIMO settlements ,was proof that Eskimos hunted and killed whales as early as 1500BC.
In 1930 at least as many as 30,000 blue whales were killed .
But immediately the whaling countries put in lawof protection and now the situation has changed drastically.
The International Whaling Commission has brought some measure to save the killing of whales finally.
And hopefully the Marvel of Whales continue to enthrall the beauties of the sea and Nature.