Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Cetaceans

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Killer Whale - featured article review

I have nominated

featured article criteria. Articles are typically reviewed for two weeks. If substantial concerns are not addressed during the review period, the article will be moved to the Featured Article Removal Candidates list for a further period, where editors may declare "Keep" or "Remove" the article's featured status. The instructions for the review process are here. Tom B (talk) 19:54, 30 December 2009 (UTC)[reply

I was going to make the official proposal myself, but it seems like the sort of thing that would be more skillfully discussed and handled by Team Cetacea (of which I am a fan but not a member). Krychek (talk) 20:00, 6 December 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Disagree: Since the term "whale", by usage, applies only to part of the order Cetacea, and has distinct biological differences from dolphins & porpoises, especially in the case of baleen whales, I recommend that they not be merged. AshLin (talk) 13:32, 25 August 2014 (UTC)[reply]
I don't think that partial usage is so cut-and-dried or universal to justify the current state of affairs. I'd like them both to be merged to Whale (Cetacea should be a redirect, I think.) ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 17:53, 22 January 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Popular pages tool update

As of January, the popular pages tool has moved from the Toolserver to

Wikimedia Tool Labs
. The code has changed significantly from the Toolserver version, but users should notice few differences. Please take a moment to look over your project's list for any anomalies, such as pages that you expect to see that are missing or pages that seem to have more views than expected. Note that unlike other tools, this tool aggregates all views from redirects, which means it will typically have higher numbers. (For January 2014 specifically, 35 hours of data is missing from the WMF data, which was approximated from other dates. For most articles, this should yield a more accurate number. However, a few articles, like ones featured on the Main Page, may be off).

Web tools, to replace the ones at tools:~alexz/pop, will become available over the next few weeks at toollabs:popularpages. All of the historical data (back to July 2009 for some projects) has been copied over. The tool to view historical data is currently partially available (assessment data and a few projects may not be available at the moment). The tool to add new projects to the bot's list is also available now (editing the configuration of current projects coming soon). Unlike the previous tool, all changes will be effective immediately. OAuth is used to authenticate users, allowing only regular users to make changes to prevent abuse. A visible history of configuration additions and changes is coming soon. Once tools become fully available, their toolserver versions will redirect to Labs.

If you have any questions, want to report any bugs, or there are any features you would like to see that aren't currently available on the Toolserver tools, see the


Whale poo

Whale feces is up. Any chance of an image of whale poo? AshLin (talk) 14:20, 22 August 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Fools rush in...

... where angels fear to tread? I've begun work on Cetacean anatomy. I intend to try my best to bring in a much needed resource for our project. The whale & dolphin anatomies sections are clearly inadequate. I'm modelling the draft on fish anatomy. My draft is here. Since I'm a Wikitroll, please don't expect quick results but I hoe to get there eventually. I've done something similar in the past so hope to succeed here also. AshLin (talk) 13:28, 25 August 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Comment on the WikiProject X proposal

Hello there! As you may already know, most WikiProjects here on Wikipedia struggle to stay active after they've been founded. I believe there is a lot of potential for WikiProjects to facilitate collaboration across subject areas, so I have submitted a grant proposal with the Wikimedia Foundation for the "WikiProject X" project. WikiProject X will study what makes WikiProjects succeed in retaining editors and then design a prototype WikiProject system that will recruit contributors to WikiProjects and help them run effectively. Please review the proposal here and leave feedback. If you have any questions, you can ask on the proposal page or leave a message on my talk page. Thank you for your time! (Also, sorry about the posting mistake earlier. If someone already moved my message to the talk page, feel free to remove this posting.) Harej (talk) 22:47, 1 October 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Marine Mammal WikiSprint - editathon

Hi All,

I am the Education Committee Chair for the Society for Marine Mammalogy, we are hosting a "WikiSprint" which is a week long editathon starting on January 19th for all articles related to marine mammals. Please considering enrolling on our WikiEducation Course Page

ShaneGero (talk) 09:29, 7 January 2015 (UTC)[reply]

WikiProject X is live!

Hello everyone!

You may have received a message from me earlier asking you to comment on my WikiProject X proposal. The good news is that WikiProject X is now live! In our first phase, we are focusing on research. At this time, we are looking for people to share their experiences with WikiProjects: good, bad, or neutral. We are also looking for WikiProjects that may be interested in trying out new tools and layouts that will make participating easier and projects easier to maintain. If you or your WikiProject are interested, check us out! Note that this is an opt-in program; no WikiProject will be required to change anything against its wishes. Please let me know if you have any questions. Thank you!

Note: To receive additional notifications about WikiProject X on this talk page, please add this page to Wikipedia:WikiProject X/Newsletter. Otherwise, this will be the last notification sent about WikiProject X.

Harej (talk) 16:56, 14 January 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Taxonomy template for auto taxobox - Order Cetartiodactlya


I am trying to correct the taxonomy template for cetaceans.

Cetartiodactyla. Does anyone here have experience with the Template:Taxonomy/Cetacea/Mammalia system and who understands the classification changes I am proposing below. THANKS ShaneGero (talk) 12:54, 20 January 2015 (UTC)[reply

Based on molecular and morphological research, the cetaceans genetically and morphologically fall firmly within the

IUCN Cetacean Specialist Group[7] and by Taxonomy Committee[8] of the Society for Marine Mammalogy
, the largest international association of marine mammal scientists in the world.

Please weigh in at Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Mammals#Cetacean_Taxonomy_Template_for_auto_taxobox instead of here. Thanks! ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 18:27, 22 January 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Whale - FA candidate

I have nominated the


River dolphin - GAN

Hello, I've nominated River dolphin for GAN. Please start the review at this link. Many thanks. Dunkleosteus77 (push to talk) 21:27, 4 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]


I have nominated


Porpoise – GAN

I've nominated Porpoise for GA-review. Please start the review at this link. Many thanks Dunkleosteus77 (push to talk) 20:09, 25 November 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Baleen whale rewrite

I'm putting together an extensive rewrite for the Baleen whale article in my sandbox. Below is what I have so far, feel free to make whatever changes you feel necessary. Thanks   User:Dunkleosteus77 |push to talk  22:11, 23 January 2016 (UTC)[reply]

It's been up for a week, so I'll go ahead and add it.   User:Dunkleosteus77 |push to talk  04:07, 30 January 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Extended content

Baleen whales
Temporal range: late Eocene–Recent
Humpback whale breaching
Scientific classification

see cladogram

15 species

Mysticeti (

Artiodactyla (even-toed ungulates). Baleen whale split from toothed whales
(Odontoceti) around 34 million years ago.

Baleen whales range in size from the 6 m (20 ft) and 3,000 kg (6,600 lb) pygmy right whale to the 34 m (112 ft) and 190 t (210 short tons) blue whale, which is also the largest creature. They exhibit sexual dimorphism. Baleen whales can have streamlined or large bodies, depending on the feeding behavior, and two limbs that are modified into flippers. Though not as not as flexible and agile as seals, baleen whales can swim very fast. Baleen whales use their plates to filter out food from the water, and each genus has a different method of doing so. Baleen whales have fused neck vertebrae, and are unable to turn their head at all. Baleen whales have two blowholes. Some species are well adapted for diving to great depths. They have a layer of fat, or blubber, under the skin to keep warm in the cold water.

Although baleen whales widespread, most species prefer the colder waters of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. They spend their lives in the water, mating, giving birth,

, notably the songs of the humpback whale.

The meat, blubber, baleen, and oil of baleen whales have traditionally been used by indigenous peoples of the Arctic. Once relentlessly hunted by commercial industries for these products, cetaceans are now protected by international law. However, the North Atlantic right whale is ranked critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Besides hunting, baleen whales also face threats from naval sonar, which result in strandings, and marine pollution.


The taxonomic name "Mysticeti" (Latin, plural) apparently derives from a translation error in early copies of Aristotle's Historia Animalium, in which "ὁ μῦς τὸ κῆτος" (ho mus to kētos, "the mouse, the whale so called") was mistakenly run together as "ὁ μυστικῆτος" (ο mustikētos, "the Mysticetus"),[1] which Rice 1998 assumed was an ironic reference to the animals' great size.[2] An alternate name for the suborder is "Mystacoceti" (from Greek μύσταξ "moustache" + κῆτος "whale"), which, although obviously more appropriate and occasionally used in the past, has been superseded by "Mysticeti".[2]

The term "baleen" (Middle English baleyn, ballayne, ballien, bellane, etc.) is an archaic word for "whale", derived from the Latin balæna.[3]



Grey whale


Common minke whale

Southern minke whale

Cladogram showing phylogenic relations between mysticete species according to Hassanin and Ropiquet, et al.[4] and Rosenbaum and Brownell, Jr., et al.[5]

Mysticetes are also known as baleen whales due to the presence of

and nine species of rorqual are known to exist, while two genera and three species of Eubalaenid exist.

Eschrichtiidae consists of only one living member: the gray whale. This animal is easily distinguished from other extant cetaceans by its sleet-grey colour, the lack of a dorsal fin, and its grey-white scars (left from parasites). Like rorquals, these use their throat pleats to increase the amount of water that can be in there at any one time to effectively filter out plankton from the water. Grey whales are bottom-feeders, meaning they sift through sand to get their food. They usually turn on their side and scoop up sediment into their mouth and filter out

amphipods. In addition, the two populations, one in the Sea of Okhotsk and Sea of Japan and the other in the Mediterranean Sea[9] and East Atlantic[10], are thought to be genetically and physiologically dissimilar.[11] The gray whale is traditionally placed as the only living species in its genus and family. However, DNA analysis indicates certain rorquals, such as the humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae, and the fin whale, Balaenoptera physalus, are more closely related to the gray whale than they are to some other rorquals, such as the minke whale.[12][13]

Rorquals consist of two genera (

extant genera of rorquals. They recommend that the genus Balaenoptera be limited to the fin whale, and have minke whales fall under the genus Pterobalaena, and have Rorqualus contain the Sei whale, Bryde's whale, Eden's whale, the blue whale, and Omura's whale.[15]

Eubalaenids are also known as right whale due to whalers preferring them over other species; they were essentially the "right whale" to catch.[16] These animals rely on their huge head, as opposed to the rorquals' throat pleats, to feed effectively. This feeding behavior allows them to grow very big and bulky, without the necessity for a streamlined body. They usually target prey large enough to be filtered through their baleen plates, and they target large baitballs. Eubalaenids consisted of two types: right whales and bowhead whales. However, recent studies done through the early 2000s reported that bowhead whales and rights whales where morphologically and phylogenically different.[17]

Cetotheriidae consists of only one living member: the pygmy right whale. This animal is easily confused with minke whales due to their similar characteristics. The pygmy right whale is very elusively seen in the wild and, consequently, little is known about its feeding behavior and much of what is known about them comes from stranded individuals. Despite its name, the pygmy right whale is more genetically to rorquals and grey whales than to other right whales, named simply because its bones resemble that of right whales.[18] A study published in 2012 that, based on bone structure, moved the pygmy right whale from the (now empty) family Neobalaenidae to the family Cetotheriidae, making it a living fossil.[19]

Evolutionary history

Janjucetus hunderi


biosonar capabilities. However, its jaw also contained teeth, with incisors and canines built for stabbing and molars and premolars built for tearing. These early mysticetes were exceedingly small compared to modern baleen whales, with species like Mammalodon measuring no greater than the height of three meters. It is thought that size and baleen dependence are linked.[20]
The discovery of Janjucetus and others like it suggests that baleen evolution went through several transitional phases.

Llanocetus skull

filter feeding. In the early Eocene basilosaurid Saghacetus, the mandibular symphysis is long and rigid, the rostrum is narrow, and the edges of the maxillae are thickened, indicating an adaptation for predatory feeding. In the toothed Oligocene mammalodontid Janjucetus, the symphysis is short and the oral cavity enlarged, the rostrum is wide, and the edges of the maxillae are thin, indicating an adaptation for suction feeding. The aetiocetid Chonecetus still had teeth, but the presence of a groove on the interior side of each mandible indicates the symphysis was elastic, which would have enabled rotation of each mandible, an initial adaptation for bulk feeding like in modern mysticetes.[22]


benthic, plankton, or copepod diet like modern mysticetes. Mysticetes experienced their first radiation in the mid-Miocene. Balaenopterids got bigger during this time, with species like Balaenoptera sibbaldina rivaling the blue whale in terms of size.[23] It is thought this radiation was caused by global climate change and major tectonic activity (the Antarctic Circumpolar Current).[24]

killer sperm whales

The first toothless ancestors of Mysticetes appeared before the first radiation in the late Oligocene.[25] Eomysticetus and others like it showed no evidence in the skull of echolocation abilities, suggesting they mainly relied on their eyesight for navigation. The Eomysticetidae had long, flat rostra that lacked teeth and had external nares located halfway up the dorsal side of the snout. Though the palate is not well-preserved in these specimens, they are thought to have had baleen and been filter feeders.[26][21]


Baleen whales vary considerably in size and shape, depending on their feeding behavior

Baleen whale have two flippers on the front, near the head. The hind legs are enclosed inside the body, and are thought to be

naval, to expand, increasing the amount of water that the mouth can store.[28] The mandible is connected to the skull by dense fibers and cartilage, allowing the jaw to swing open at almost a 90° angle. The mandibular symphysis is also fibrocartilaginous, allowing the jaw to bend which lets in more water.[29] To prevent stretching the mouth too far, rorquals have a sensory organ located in the middle of the jaw to regulate these functions.[30]

When swimming, baleen whales rely on their flippers for locomotion in a wing-like manner similar to

sea turtles. Flipper movement is continuous. While doing this, baleen whales use their tail fluke to propel themselves forward through vertical motion while using their flipper for steering, much like an otter. Some species leap out of the water, which may allow then to travel faster.[31]

Paired blowholes of a humpback and the V-shaped blow of a right whale

Like all mammals, baleen whales breathe air and must surface periodically to do so. Their nostrils, or

blowholes, are situated at the top of the cranium. The baleen whales have two blowholes, as opposed to toothed whales which have one. These paired blowholes are longitudinal slits that converge anteriorly and widen posteriorly, which causes a V-shaped blow. They are surrounded by a fleshy ridge that keeps water away while the whale breathes. The septum that separates the blowholes has two plugs attached to it, making the blowholes water-tight while the whale dives.[32]

When sieved from the water, food is swallowed and travels down through the

intestinal tract. The whale intestinal track is highly adapted to absorb the most nutrients from food; the walls are folded and contain copious blood vessels, allowing for a greater surface area over which digested food and water can be absorbed. Whales get the water they need from their food, however the salt content of most of their prey, invertebrates, are similar to that of seawater, whereas the salt content of a whale's blood is considerably lower (three times lower) than that of seawater. The whale kidney is adapted to excreting excess salt, however, while producing urine more concentrated than seawater, it wastes a lot of water which must be replaced.[33]


The eyes of baleen whales are relatively small for their size and are positioned near the end of the mouth. This is probably because they feed on slow or immobile prey, and that most sunlight does not pass 30 feet (9.1 m), and hence does not need acute vision. A whale's eye is adapted for seeing both in the photic and aphotic zones by increasing or decreasing the pupil's size to prevent damage to the eye. As opposed to land mammals, whales have spherical eyeballs. The retina is surrounding by reflective layer of cells (tapetum lucidum), which bounces back at the retina, enhancing eyesight in dark areas. However, light is bent more near the surface of the eye when in air as opposed to water; consequently, they can see much better in the air than in the water. The eyeballs are protected by a thick outer layer to prevent abrasions, and an oily fluid (instead if tears) on the surface of the eye. Baleen whales appear to have limited color vision, as they lack S-cones.[33]

Humpback whale skeleton, notice how the jaw is split into two

The mysticete ear is adapted for hearing underwater, where it can hear sound frequencies as low as 7

tympanic bulla, a bony capsule. However, this is attached to the skull, suggesting that vibrations passing through the bone is important. Sinuses may reflect vibrations towards the cochlea. It is known that when the fluid inside the cochlea is disturbed by vibrations, it triggers sensory hairs which send electrical current to the brain, where vibrations are processed into sound.[33][36]

It is largely unknown how baleen whales produce sound due to the lack of a

arytenoid cartilages. The muscles surrounding the larynx may expel air rapidly or maintain a constant volume while diving.[37]

Baleen whales have a small, yet functional,

Jacobson's organ. This allows baleen whales to detect chemical and pheromones released by their prey. It is thought that tasting the water is important for finding prey, and track down other whales. They are thought to have an impaired sense of smell due to the lack of the olfactory bulb, but they do have an olfactory tract.[33] Baleen whales have little to no taste buds, suggesting they have lost their sense of taste.[38]

Diving adaptations

Before diving, baleen whales typically stay near the surface and take 10 to 15 breaths for around three minutes and dive for eight minutes. Their unique lungs are built to collapse under the pressure instead of resisting the pressure would damage the lungs. The whale lungs are very efficient at extracting oxygen from the air, usually 80%, whereas humans only extract 20% of oxygen from inhaled air. Lung volume is relatively low compared to terrestrial mammals due to the inability of the respiratory tract to hold gas while diving. Doing so may cause serious complications such as embolism. Unlike other mammals, the lungs of baleen whales lack lobes and are more sacculated shaped. Like in humans, the left lung is smaller than the right to make room for the heart.[39] To conserve oxygen, blood is rerouted from pressure-tolerant-tissue to internal organs,[40] and they have a high concentration of myoglobin which allow them to hold their breath longer.[41]


Baleen whales conserve heat with their large and compact body size, and insulating blubber. In addition, they have a dense network of blood vessels (rete mirabile) which prevents heat-loss. In most mammals, heat is lost in their extremities, so warm blood in arteries is surrounded by veins to prevent heat loss during transport. As well as this, heat inevitably given off by the arteries warms blood in the surrounding veins as it travels back into the core. This is otherwise known as countercurrent exchange. To counteract overheating while in warmer waters, whales reroute blood to the skin to accelerate heat-loss.[33]


Unlike most animals, whales are conscious breathers. All mammals sleep, but whales cannot afford to become unconscious for long because they may drown. They are thought exhibit unihemispheric slow-wave sleep, in which they sleep with half of the brain while the half remains active. This behavior was only documented in toothed whales until footage of a humpback whale sleeping (vertically) was shot in 2014.[42]


Baleen whales, being fully aquatic, spend their lives in the water; unable to haul themselves onto shore, they must raise young, molt, rest, and thermoregulate in the water. Several species are known to migrate vast distances, to calving grounds in tropical waters, and each species has their own breeding season. The migration cycle is repeated annually.

Baja peninsula.[44]


Humpback whales lunge-feeding

All baleen whales are carnivorous and predatory. Different kinds of prey are found in different abundances depending on location, for example, Antarctic residents mostly feed on

Euphausiids, however this is mainly effective for lunge-feeders, whereas gulp-feeders, like the right whales, feed primarily on copepods. Each type of whale is adapted to a specialized way of foraging. They feed solitarily or in small groups. There are two types of feeding behaviors: gulp-feeding and lunge-feeding, but some species do both depending on the type and amount of food.[45] Baleen whales get the water they need from their food, and their kidneys excrete excess salt.[33]

Lunge-feeders are all classified under the families Balaeonopteridae (rorquals) and Cetotheriidae (pygmy right whale). To feed, lunge-feeders expand the volume of their jaw to a volume bigger than the original volume of the whale itself; to do this, the oral cavity inflates to expand the mouth. The inflation of the oral cavity causes the throat pleats to expand, increasing the amount of water that the mouth can store.

benthic creatures.[47]

Predation and parasitism

Orange whale lice on a right whale

Baleen whales, due to their great size, do not have any natural predators. However, calves can be preyed on by the

cookie cutter shark.[52]

Many parasites latch onto whales, notably


Female right whale with calf

Before reaching adulthood, baleen whales grow at an extraordinary rate. In the

, needing to be able to swim to the surface at the moment of its birth.

The same life pattern can be seen in other balaenopterids; they mate in warm waters in winter to give birth almost a year later.[43] A 7– to 11-month lactation period is normally followed by a year of rest before mating starts again. Adults normally start reproducing when 5–10 years old and reach their full length after 20–30 years.[57][58][59] In the smallest balaenopterid, the minke whale, 3 m (9.8 ft) calves are born after a 10-month pregnancy and weaning lasts until it has reached about 5–5.5 m (16–18 ft) after 6–7 months.[60] Unusual for a baleen whale, female minkes (and humpbacks) can become pregnant immediately after giving birth; in most species, there is a 2-to-3-year calving period. In right whales, the calving interval is usually 3 years. Bowheads grow very rapidly during their first year, after which they hardly increase in size for several years. They reach sexual maturity when 13–14 m (43–46 ft) long. Some 19th-century harpoons found in harvested bowheads indicate this species can live more than 100 years. Baleen whales are K-strategists, meaning they raise one calf at a time, have a long life-expectancy, and a low infant mortality rate.[61]


Unlike their toothed whale counterparts, baleen whales are hard to study due to their immense size. Intelligence tests such as the mirror test cannot be done as they have done in dolphins, because their bulk and lack of body language makes a reaction impossible to be definitive. However, studies on the brains of humpback whales revealed spindle cells, which, in humans, control theory of mind. Due to this, it is thought that baleen whales, or at least the humpback whale, have animal consciousness.[62]

Relationship with humans


Diagram showing blue whale population trend through the 1900s
World population graph of blue whales

right whales.[65][66] 18th and 19th century whalers hunted down whales mainly for their oil, which was used as lamp fuel and a lubricant and baleen or whalebone, which was used for items such as corsets and skirt hoops,[64] The most successful whaling nations at this time were Holland, Japan, and the United States.[67]

Commercial whaling was historically important as an industry well throughout the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Whaling was at that time a sizeable European industry with ships from Britain, France, Spain, Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany, sometimes collaborating to hunt whales in the Arctic, sometimes in competition leading even to war.

USD11,000,000, equivalent to USD348,000,000 today, the most profitable year for the American whaling industry.[70] Commonly exploited species included North Atlantic right whales, bowhead whales, which were mainly hunted by the Dutch, common minke whales, blue whales, and gray whales. The scale of whale harvesting decreased substantially after 1982 when the International Whaling Commission (IWC) placed a moratorium which set a catch limit for each country, excluding aboriginal groups until it was updated to include them in 2004.[71]

Current whaling nations are Norway, Iceland, and Japan, despite their joining to the IWC, as well as the aboriginal communities of Siberia, Alaska, and northern Canada.[72] Subsistence hunters typically use whale products for themselves and depend on them for survival. National and international authorities have given special treatment to aboriginal hunters since their methods of hunting are seen as less destructive and wasteful. This distinction is being questioned as these aboriginal groups are using more modern weaponry and mechanized transport to hunt with, and are selling whale products in the marketplace. Some anthropologists argue that the term "subsistence" should also apply to these cash-based exchanges as long as they take place within local production and consumption. In 1946, the IWC placed a moratorium, limiting the annual whale catch.[73]

Conservation and management issues

As of 2013, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recognizes 15 mysticete species. One species—the North Atlantic right whale—is endangered with only around 400(±50) individuals left, and four more are also considered as Endangered" (North Pacific right whale, the blue whale, the fin whale, and the Sei whale), and another 5 ranked as Data deficient (Bryde's whale, Eden's whale, Omura's whale, Southern minke whale, and pygmy right whale).[74] Species that live in polar habitats are vulnerable to the effects of recent and ongoing climate change, particularly declines in sea ice, as well as ocean acidification.[75]

The whale watching industry and anti-whaling advocates argue that whaling catches "friendly" whales that are curious about boats, as these whales are the easiest to catch. This analysis claims that once the economic benefits of hotels, restaurants and other tourist amenities are considered, hunting whales is a net economic loss. This argument is particularly contentious in Iceland, as it has among the most-developed whale-watching operations in the world and the hunting of minke whales resumed in August 2003. Brazil, Argentina and South Africa argue that whale watching is a growing billion-dollar industry that provides more revenue than commercial whaling would provide.[76] Peru, Uruguay, Australia, and New Zealand also support proposals to permanently forbid whaling South of the Equator, as Indonesia is the only country in the Southern Hemisphere with a whaling industry. Anti-whaling groups claim that developing countries which support a pro-whaling stance are damaging their economies by driving away anti-whaling tourists.[77]

Protests of Japan's scientific whaling

Commercial whaling was historically important for world economy. All species were exploited, and as one type's stock depleted, another type was targeted. The scale of whale harvesting decreased substantially through the 1960's as all whale stocks had been depleted, and practically stopped in the 1988 after the

functionally extinct.[78][81]

Baleen whale continue to be harvested. However, only three nations take whales: Iceland (despite being a member of the IWC), Norway, and Japan. Iceland and Norway were part of the IWC, but withdrew in 1992 and 1993, respectively, and continued hunting minke whales; despite Iceland's rejoining in 2006, they still continue to catch whales. [82] Japan, being part of the IWC, whales under the Scientific Permit stated in Article VIII in the Convention for the Regulation of Whaling.[83] Japan has had two main research programs: JARPA and JARPN. JARPN is focused in the North Pacific and JARPA around the Antarctic. JARPA mainly caught Antarctic minke whales, catching nearly 7,000; to a far lesser extent, they also caught fin whales.[84] Animal-rights activist groups (such as the Greenpeace[85]) object to Japan's scientific whaling, with some calling a substitute for commercial whaling.[86] In 2014, the United Nations judicial branch banned the taking of whales for any purpose in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary,[87] however Japan refuses to stop whaling and has only promised to cut their annual catches by a third (around 300 whales per year).[88]

The remains of a North Atlantic right whale after it collided with a ship propeller

Baleen whales can also be effected by humans in more indirect ways. For species like the North Atlantic right whale, which migrates through some of the world's busiest shipping lanes, the biggest threat is from being struck by ships. The Lloyd's mirror effect results in low frequency propeller sounds not being discernible near the surface, where most accidents occur. Combined with spreading and acoustic shadowing effects, the result is that the whale is unable to hear an approaching vessel before it has been run over or entrapped by the hydrodynamic forces of the vessel's passage.[89] The ever-increasing amount of ocean noise, including sonar, drowns out the vocalizations produced by whales, notably in the blue whale which produces the loudest vocalization, which makes it harder for them to communicate.[90][91] Blue whales stop producing foraging D calls once a mid-frequency sonar is activated, even though the sonar frequency range (1–8 kHz) far exceeds their sound production range (25–100 Hz).[92] Poisoning from toxic substances such as Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) is generally low due to their low trophic level.[93] Some baleen whales can become victims of bycatch, which is especially serious for North Atlantic right whales, considering there are only 450 left.[94] Right whales feed with wide-open mouths, risking entanglement in any rope or net fixed in the water column. Rope wraps around their upper jaws, flippers and tails. Some are able to escape, but others remain tangled. If observers notice, they can be successfully disentangled, but others die over a period of months. Other whales, such as humpback whales, can also be entangled.[95]

In captivity

Baleen whales have rarely been kept in captivity. Their large size and appetite make them expensive creatures to maintain. Pools of proper would also be very expensive to build. For example, a single gray whale calf would need to eat 475 pounds (215 kg) of fish per day, and the pool would have to accommodate the 13-foot (4.0 m).

Numazu, Shizuoka (Japan) housed three minke whales in a sea-gate enclosed by nets. One survived for three months, another (a calf) survived for two weeks, and another was kept for a year before breaking through the nets.[100]


  1. ^ a b "Mysticeti". Oxford dictionary. Retrieved October 2013. {{cite web}}: Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  2. ^ a b Bannister 2008, Characteristics and Taxonomy
  3. .
  4. .
  5. .
  6. . The true buoyancy of a particular whale is dependent upon its body composition, particularly the relative quantities of muscle and blubber tissues. Balaenopterid whales have a higher proportion of muscle tissue and tend to be negatively buoyant while the opposite is true for right whales (Lockyer, 1976).
  7. ^ Crane, J.; Scott, R. (2002). "Eubalaena glacialis: North Atlantic right whale: Information". Animal Diversity Web. University of Michigan Museum of Zoology. Retrieved April 30, 2006.
  8. .
  9. ^ Thomas, Pete (2010-05-10). "Gray whale off Israel called 'most amazing sighting in history of whales'". Retrieved 12 May 2010.
  10. ^ Hoare, Philip (2013-05-14). "First grey whale spotted south of the Equator". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  11. ^ Nakamura, G.; Kato, H. (2014). "日本沿岸域に近年(1990–2005 年)出現したコククジラEschrichtius robustus の骨学的特徴,特に頭骨形状から見た北太平洋西部系群と東部系群交流の可能性" (PDF). 哺乳類科学 (in Japanese). 54 (1): 73–88.
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  22. ^ Fitzgerald 2012, Fig. 2
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  30. ^ a b Welsh, Jennifer (2012). "Whale's Big Gulp Aided by Newfound Organ". Retrieved 23 January 2016.
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  33. ^ a b c d e f Cavendish 2010, pg. 101 Cite error: The named reference "Cavendish" was defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  34. ^ Washington State Department of Transport. "Estimated Auditory Bandwidths for Marine Mammals and Fish" (PDF). Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  35. ^ Baraniuk, Chris (2015). "The world's loneliest whale may not be so lonely after all".
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  57. ^ Rice, D. W. (1977). "Synopsis of biological data on the sei whale and Bryde's whale in the eastern North Pacific" (PDF). Rep. Int. Whal. Commn. Spec. Iss. 1: 92–97. Retrieved November 2013. {{cite journal}}: Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  58. doi:10.1139/z87-040. Retrieved November 2013. {{cite journal}}: Check date values in: |accessdate= (help
  59. ^ Ohsumi, S. (1977). "Bryde's whales in the pelagic whaling ground of the North Pacific" (PDF). Rep. Int. Whal. Commn.: 140–9. Retrieved November 2013. {{cite journal}}: Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  60. ^ Reynolds, J. E., & Rommel, S. A. (1999). Biology of marine mammals. Washington, Smithsonian Institution Press.
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  64. ^ a b c d Marrero, Meghan E.; Thornton, Stuart (2011). "Big Fish: A Brief History of Whaling". National Geographic. Retrieved 25 January 2016.
  65. ^ a b Ford, Catherine (2015). "A Savage History: Whaling in the South Pacific and Southern Oceans". The Monthly: Australian politics, societies, and cultures.
  66. ^ Basque whaling in Labrador in the 16th century. 1994. pp. 260–286.
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  75. ^ Elliot, Wendy (2007). Whales in Hot Water? (PDF). World Wildlife Fund. pp. 9–10.
  76. ^ Black, Richard (2009). "Whale watching 'worth billions'". Retrieved 27 January 2016.
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Further reading

Baleen whale – GAN

I've nominated Baleen whale for GA-review. Please start the review at this link. Many thanks   User:Dunkleosteus77 |push to talk  22:41, 7 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]


Bottlenose dolphin, an article that you or your project may be interested in, has been nominated for a community good article reassessment. If you are interested in the discussion, please participate by adding your comments to the reassessment page. If concerns are not addressed during the review period, the good article status may be removed from the article. Ten Pound Hammer(What did I screw up now?) 03:34, 8 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Pygmy killer whale

I revised the Pygmy killer whale and was hoping to upgrade its class from "start" to at least "C". Could the article be reassessed and have its class upgraded?

--LiaElf76 (talk) 21:45, 29 April 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Taxoboxes for even-toed ungulates and whales

Feel free to participate in a discussion I started at

Talk:Even-toed ungulate#Taxoboxes for even-toed ungulates and whales. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 17:46, 13 July 2016 (UTC)[reply

Assessment query

Hi guys, I assessed the 2 listed unassessed articles that were listed as needed doing yesterday, but as yet the article box on the project home page hasn't updated to show this. Can someone check if I've inserted the code correctly on the article's talk pages as it's the first article assessment I've done? The articles in question are mud ring feeding and Dolfinarium Harderwijk. Cheers guys. douts (talk) 17:49, 17 August 2016 (UTC)[reply]

2016 Community Wishlist Survey Proposal to Revive Popular Pages

Greetings WikiProject Cetaceans Members!

This is a one-time-only message to inform you about a technical proposal to revive your Popular Pages list in the 2016 Community Wishlist Survey that I think you may be interested in reviewing and perhaps even voting for:

If the above proposal gets in the Top 10 based on the votes, there is a high likelihood of this bot being restored so your project will again see monthly updates of popular pages.

Further, there are over 260 proposals in all to review and vote for, across many aspects of wikis.

Thank you for your consideration. Please note that voting for proposals continues through December 12, 2016.

Best regards,

Stevietheman — Delivered: 17:56, 7 December 2016 (UTC)[reply

The WikiJournal of Science is a start-up academic journal which aims to provide a new mechanism for ensuring the accuracy of Wikipedia's scientific content. It is part of a WikiJournal User Group that includes the flagship WikiJournal of Medicine.[1][2]. Like Wiki.J.Med, it intends to bridge the academia-Wikipedia gap by encouraging contributions by non-Wikipedians, and by putting content through peer review before integrating it into Wikipedia.

Since it is just starting out, it is looking for contributors in two main areas:


  • See submissions through external academic peer review
  • Format accepted articles
  • Promote the journal


  • Original articles on topics that don't yet have a Wikipedia page, or only a stub/start
  • Wikipedia articles that you are willing to see through external peer review (either solo or as in a group, process analagous to
  • Image articles, based around an important medical image or summary diagram

If you're interested, please come and discuss the project on the journal's talk page, or the general discussion page for the WikiJournal User group.

T.Shafee(Evo&Evo)talk 10:29, 24 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

Keep the scraps

Sei-lwhales talk section has a lot of crossed over text. Have an historical edit section to keep such. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:52, 10 February 2017 (UTC)[reply]

Popular pages report

We – Community Tech – are happy to announce that the Popular pages bot is back up-and-running (after a one year hiatus)! You're receiving this message because your WikiProject or task force is signed up to receive the popular pages report. Every month, Community Tech bot will post at Wikipedia:WikiProject Cetaceans/Popular pages with a list of the most-viewed pages over the previous month that are within the scope of WikiProject Cetaceans.

We've made some enhancements to the original report. Here's what's new:

  • The pageview data includes both desktop and mobile data.
  • The report will include a link to the pageviews tool for each article, to dig deeper into any surprises or anomalies.
  • The report will include the total pageviews for the entire project (including redirects).

We're grateful to Mr.Z-man for his original Mr.Z-bot, and we wish his bot a happy robot retirement. Just as before, we hope the popular pages reports will aid you in understanding the reach of WikiProject Cetaceans, and what articles may be deserving of more attention. If you have any questions or concerns please contact us at m:User talk:Community Tech bot.

Warm regards, the Community Tech Team 17:16, 17 May 2017 (UTC)

Interesting scope of article

I came across

Whales in Ghanaian waters and am wondering if such formulations exist elsewhere: "Birds of X islands" or "Fish of Y lake". Or whether it is worth creating "Whales (or cetaceans) of Z waters". Carbon Caryatid (talk) 21:28, 22 April 2018 (UTC)[reply

it looks like that article was specifically created because of some stranding event   User:Dunkleosteus77 |push to talk  22:41, 22 April 2018 (UTC)[reply]
We have some "Fauna of place X" and "Mammals of place X" articles, e.g. Fauna of Australia. And we have Category:Lists of mammals by location. For waters rich in cetacean life it would be appropriate to have an article about the cetaceans in the area. Clayoquot (talk | contribs) 18:22, 23 April 2018 (UTC)[reply]
most whales are in every ocean, any particular body of water you suggest?   User:Dunkleosteus77 |push to talk  18:37, 23 April 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Discussion at Cryptid Whale

There's currently discussion at Talk:Cryptid whale likely of interest to readers here. :bloodofox: (talk) 21:34, 13 May 2018 (UTC)[reply]

WikiProject collaboration notice from the
Portals WikiProject

The reason I am contacting you is because there are one or more portals that fall under this subject, and the Portals WikiProject is currently undertaking a major drive to automate portals that may affect them.

Portals are being redesigned.

The new design features are being applied to existing portals.

At present, we are gearing up for a maintenance pass of portals in which the introduction section will be upgraded to no longer need a subpage. In place of static copied and pasted excerpts will be self-updating excerpts displayed through selective transclusion, using the template {{Transclude lead excerpt}}.

The discussion about this can be found here.

Maintainers of specific portals are encouraged to sign up as project members here, noting the portals they maintain, so that those portals are skipped by the maintenance pass. Currently, we are interested in upgrading neglected and abandoned portals. There will be opportunity for maintained portals to opt-in later, or the portal maintainers can handle upgrading (the portals they maintain) personally at any time.


On April 8th, 2018, an RfC ("Request for comment") proposal was made to eliminate all portals and the portal namespace. On April 17th, the Portals WikiProject was rebooted to handle the revitalization of the portal system. On May 12th, the RfC was closed with the result to keep portals, by a margin of about 2 to 1 in favor of keeping portals.

There's an article in the current edition of the Signpost interviewing project members about the RfC and the Portals WikiProject.

Since the reboot, the Portals WikiProject has been busy building tools and components to upgrade portals.

So far, 84 editors have joined.

If you would like to keep abreast of what is happening with portals, see the newsletter archive.

If you have any questions about what is happening with portals or the Portals WikiProject, please post them on the

WikiProject's talk page

Thank you.    — The Transhumanist   07:28, 30 May 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Request for comment on recommending usage of automatic taxoboxes

There is an RfC regarding recommending usage of automatic taxoboxes at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Tree of Life#Request for comments: Should the automatic taxobox system be the current recommended practice?. Inviting anybody who watches this page to contribute their thoughts to that thread.

WikiProject Cetaceans is currently using automatic taxoboxes in 98.6% of project tagged articles that have any form of taxobox. Plantdrew (talk) 01:37, 16 July 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Two for one for Bryde's whale and Minke whale?

There are only two articles in WikiProject Cetaceans that use manual {{taxobox}}es: Bryde's whale and Minke whale. Both are cramming two species into taxoboxes meant for one taxon each. Are both/either of these whales species complexes, or some other infrageneric clades? If so, the manual {{Taxobox}}es should be upgraded to {{Automatic taxobox}}es. If they are only evolutionary grades, then an automated {{paraphyletic group}} box should be used. I think either change could be applied without rocking the boat on the rest of the article.

I have raised this on


A discussion is taking place as to whether Portal:Cetaceans is suitable for inclusion in Wikipedia according to Wikipedia's policies and guidelines or whether it should be deleted.

The article will be discussed at Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:Pigs (it's a bundled nomination) until a consensus is reached, and anyone is welcome to contribute to the discussion. The nomination will explain the policies and guidelines which are of concern. The discussion focuses on high-quality evidence and our policies and guidelines.

Users may edit the page during the discussion, including to improve the page to address concerns raised in the discussion. However, do not remove the deletion notice from the top of the page. North America1000 02:24, 23 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]

A new newsletter directory is out!

A new Newsletter directory has been created to replace the old, out-of-date one. If your WikiProject and its taskforces have newsletters (even inactive ones), or if you know of a missing newsletter (including from sister projects like WikiSpecies), please include it in the directory! The template can be a bit tricky, so if you need help, just post the newsletter on the template's talk page and someone will add it for you.

– Sent on behalf of Headbomb. 03:11, 11 April 2019 (UTC)[reply]

Subscribe to new Tree of Life Newsletter!

"I've never heard so much about crinoids!"

Despite the many Wikipedians who edit content related to organisms/species, there hasn't been a Tree of Life Newsletter...until now! If you would like regular deliveries of said newsletter, please add your name to the subscribers list. Thanks, Enwebb (talk) 00:29, 5 May 2019 (UTC)[reply]


I have nominated

featured list criteria. Articles are typically reviewed for two weeks; editors may declare to "Keep" or "Delist" the article's featured status. The instructions for the review process are here. Ten Pound Hammer(What did I screw up now?) 01:07, 16 July 2019 (UTC)[reply

Artiodactyla vs Cetartiodactyla

Check out this discussion: Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Mammals#Taxonomy_templates:_updating_order_Cetartiodactyla?

Request for information on WP1.0 web tool

Hello and greetings from the maintainers of the WP 1.0 Bot! As you may or may not know, we are currently involved in an overhaul of the bot, in order to make it more modern and maintainable. As part of this process, we will be rewriting the web tool that is part of the project. You might have noticed this tool if you click through the links on the project assessment summary tables.

We'd like to collect information on how the current tool is used! How do you yourself and the other maintainers of your project use the web tool? Which of its features do you need? How frequently do you use these features? And what features is the tool missing that would be useful to you? We have collected all of these questions at this Google form where you can leave your response. Walkerma (talk) 04:24, 27 October 2019 (UTC)[reply]

First annual Tree of Life Decemberween contest

After all the fun with the


The Cetacean Barnstar




If one would like it one could look at a question I've posted on Wikipedia:Reference desk/Science. Thank You anyway. Эйхер (talk) 14:58, 23 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

GA Reassessment


FAR for Sei whale

I have nominated


FAR for Fin whale

I have nominated


User script to detect unreliable sources

I have (with the help of others) made a small user script to detect and highlight various links to

predatory journals. Some of you may already be familiar with it, given it is currently the 39th most imported script on Wikipedia
. The idea is that it takes something like

  • John Smith "Article of things" Accessed 2020-02-14. (John Smith "[ Article of things]" ''''. Accessed 2020-02-14.)

and turns it into something like

It will work on a variety of links, including those from {{cite web}}, {{cite journal}} and {{doi}}.

The script is mostly based on

and a good dose of common sense. I'm always expanding coverage and tweaking the script's logic, so general feedback and suggestions to expand coverage to other unreliable sources are always welcomed.

Do note that this is not a script to be mindlessly used, and several caveats apply. Details and instructions are available at User:Headbomb/unreliable. Questions, comments and requests can be made at User talk:Headbomb/unreliable.



This is a one time notice and can't be unsubscribed from. Delivered by: MediaWiki message delivery (talk) 16:01, 29 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Requested move at
Talk:Mesonychid#Requested move 11 October 2023

Talk:Mesonychid#Requested move 11 October 2023 that may be of interest to members of this WikiProject. UtherSRG (talk) 18:05, 11 October 2023 (UTC)[reply

Activity check

Just checking in to see if anyone else here is still active? I've been working on extinct cetacean articles, but it seems like the project page and other areas here can do with some proper maintenance. Please drop a reply if you're still active? Thanks! The Morrison Man (talk) 15:56, 25 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]