ANATOMY OF WHALES
Whales Dolphins and Porpoises
1. No bony support for flukes
2. Flexible backbone extends down through center of tail stock to beginning of flukes
3. No bony support for dorsal fin
4. Some or all of neck vertebrae fused
5. Elongated skull bones
6. Upper jaw or rostrum
7. Long, slender ribs and small sternum
8. "Finger" bones inside flippers
9. Teeth (except in baleen whales and some female toothed whales)
10. Lower jaw or mandible
11. Sensitive skin
13. Well-muscled tail stock or caudal peduncle
14. Streamlined body
15. Dorsal ridge
16. Dorsal fin
19. Forehead or melon
20. Horizontal flukes
21. Mammary slits on either side of gental slit (in females only)
22. Genital slit
23. Navel or umbilicus
25. Flippers or pectoral fins
26. Tiny opening instead of external ear
27. Mouth line
28. Beak or snout
Anatomy of a Cetacean
As anatomies go, the cetacean may have two differences but it only effects whether they have teeth or baleen plates. The toothed whales, or Odontocetes, which posses teeth; and baleen whales, or Mysticeter, which do not. The toothed whales include the Narwhal and Beluga, all the dolphins and porpsises, sperm whales, and beaked whales. These toothed whales tend to eat mostly fish, squid, and in some cases marine mammals. The baleen whales include most of the large whales, such as the right whale, and the Gray whale, and have baleen plates instead of teeth. They tend to eat shrimplike crustaceans or small fish in which they catch thousands at a time.
Most cetaceans have a distictive color and patterns all their own. But the colors and patterns can vary between animals of the same species. The sexes are somtimes different, individuals may change color as they age, and there can be many geographical variations.
Unlike most mammals whales, dolphins, and porpsoises do not have thick coats of hair to keep them warm. Instead, they have a layer of insulating fact, known as blubber. This layer can be as think as 20 inches (50 centimeters) in some species.
The blowholes of a whale are the a passage to their nasal, which is similar to our nostrils. In the baleen whale there are two blowholes which are side by side and the toothed whale has just one. Blowholes are situated on or near the top of the head, exact location and size varies between species. Strong muscles close to the blowholes before the animals dive underwater. Unlike most mammals cetaceans are unable to breathe through their mouths.
Andrea Vanessa & Erica @ the Advanced Technologies Academy