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see whalewhale,
aquatic mammal of the order Cetacea, found in all oceans of the world. Members of this order vary greatly in size and include the largest animals that have ever lived. Cetaceans never leave the water, even to give birth.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Balaenoptera physalus), also finback, a marine mammal of the family Balaenopteridae of the suborder Mystacoceti (whalebone, or baleen, whales). The body length is 19–20 m; males are 1 m shorter than females. Some individuals reach a length of 27.3 m. The body is dark-gray above and white below; the right side of the head is lighter than the left. The whalebone plates are gray-blue and are found in rows of about 360. There are 70 to 90 stripes on the belly. The rorqual is found from the arctic to the antarctic; in the USSR it occurs in the seas of the Far East and, very rarely, in the Barents and White seas. The whale enters areas with thinning ice. The young, which are born in moderately warm waters, are about 6–7 m long. Rorquals feed on planktonic crustaceans, schooling fishes, and cephalopod mollusks. They are commercially hunted, and their number is decreasing.


Tomilin, A. G. Kitoobraznye. (Zveri SSSR i prilezhashchikh stran, vol. 9). Moscow, 1951.
Zhizn’ zhivotnykh, vol. 6. Moscow, 1971.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


any of several whalebone whales of the genus Balaenoptera, esp B. physalus: family Balaenopteridae. They have a dorsal fin and a series of grooves along the throat and chest
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