Baleen Whales Are Just the Size they Ought to Be

 IN THE HUNTER/GATHERER EQUATION, FILTER-FEEDING BALEEN WHALES came down on the gathering side millions of years ago.  Gathering – in baleens’ case taking the form of filtering shrimp-like krill and other crustaceans, small fishes and phytoplankton out of the ocean waters with great baleen plates in place of teeth – has made them much more efficient feeders than their toothed cousins. A study by researchers at Stanford University suggests that the largest whales grew to

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Cetacean, Baleen, Baleen Whales, Toothed Whales

Ce·ta·cean (si-tey‘-shuhn, from the Greek and Latin for “whale”)  As an adjective, belonging to Order Cetacea, the catagory of marine mammals that includes whales, dolphins and porpoises. As a noun, a marine mammal in that order. Ba·leen (bə-lēn‘) , from the Middle French for “Whalebone”)  Bristle-like structures in the mouths of baleen whales, used to strain plankton from seawater, composed of keratin, similar to the material that makes up humans’ fingernails and hair. Also called “Whalebone,” once used

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Why Marine Mammals Don’t Get the Bends

AIR-BREATHING MARINE MAMMALS LIKE WHALES AND DOLPHINS routinely dive to great depths – measured in thousands of feet – and return to the surface at high speed without experiencing the decompression sickness that we human mammals have to be extremely careful about. How can they do this, while we humans can’t? Scientists have long suspected that they limit nitrogen absorption and decrease the risk of decompression sickness by collapsing their lungs during the dives. Researchers at

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