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Title: Whale Primer - With Special Attention to the California Gray Whale
Author: Walker, Theodore Joseph
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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    [Illustration: NATIONAL PARK SERVICE]

                              WHALE PRIMER

                      _With Special Attention to_
                       THE CALIFORNIA GRAY WHALE

                          Theodore J. Walker_

                              Published by
                          Cabrillo Historical

    [Illustration: National Park Service, Department of the Interior]

                        Produced in cooperation
                           with the National
                              Park Service

               Copyright© Cabrillo Historical Association

                          Second Printing 1965
                          Third Printing 1967
                          Fourth Printing 1969


  INTRODUCTION                                                          1
  TWO GENERAL MIGRATION ROUTES                                          2
  WHALE WATERS—SUMMER AND WINTER                                        5
  FEEDING—FILTER WHALES                                                 6
  EVOLUTION OF WHALES                                                  10
  Breathing Adaptations                                                10
  Swimming Adaptations                                                 11
  WHALE TYPES                                                          15
  Porpoises and Dolphins                                               15
  Squid Eaters                                                         18
  Filter Whales                                                        18
  SIGNIFICANCE OF BLUBBER                                              19
  Heat Conservation                                                    19
  Buoyancy                                                             20
  Food Storage                                                         20
  SEXUAL MATURITY                                                      21
  LIFE SPAN                                                            21
  WHALE INTELLIGENCE                                                   23
  WHALE SENSES                                                         23
  Sight                                                                23
  Hearing                                                              23
  Smell                                                                24
  HABITS                                                               24
  ENEMIES                                                              25
  Killer Whales                                                        25
  Parasites                                                            25
  WHALE ABNORMALITIES                                                  26
  INADEQUATE KNOWLEDGE OF WHALES                                       26
  CALIFORNIA GRAY WHALE                                                28
  Evolutionary Place                                                   28
  Geographic Distribution                                              29
  Shore Habits                                                         30
  Scientific Description                                               31
  Reaction to Whaling                                                  33
  How Do They Sleep?                                                   33
  Migration Groupings                                                  34
  Breaching                                                            35
  WHALING                                                              36
  Whalers As Explorers                                                 37
  Prehistoric Whaling                                                  37
  Historic Whaling                                                     39
  Modern Whaling                                                       42
  EXAMPLE OF UNREGULATED WHALING                                       47
  California Gray Whale                                                47
  GRAY WHALE PROTECTED                                                 48
  VALUE OF GRAY WHALE                                                  48
  Esthetic                                                             48
  Scientific                                                           49
  Commercial                                                           49
  NATURAL POPULATION CONTROLS                                          51
  CURRENT SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY                                           52
  Life Expectancy                                                      52
  Age Determination                                                    52
  Distribution and Population Rise                                     53
  APPENDIX                                                             55

    [Illustration: Migration routes of the California gray whale. The
    Korean herd may now be extinct.]


The WHALE PRIMER provides a brief introduction to one of nature’s most
interesting creations, the whale. The principal star of the handbook is
the California gray whale which in recent years has become a major
tourist attraction in southern California. Notwithstanding the extreme
interest, no concise interpretation of the migration has been prepared.
Although there is a tremendous number of technical and popular writings
about whales, there is still great mystery about them. Whales carry on
practically their entire lives below the surface of the sea out of reach
of man, so that most of our knowledge has been pieced together from the
study of the bodies of slaughtered whales. The literature abounds in
partial truths, misinterpretations and technicalities which confuse even
the specialists. Many of the sources of information require translation.

Furthermore, many of these papers were published in journals of limited
distribution. Others are long since out of print, and much of the
primary historic records can be found by examination of records which
exist only in one particular library. In the preparation of this
manuscript, hundreds of books and over 4,000 papers were catalogued, of
which the most important were available, and examined. The author was
particularly fortunate to have Japanese and Russian friends who gave
gladly of their time to insure coverage of these important papers.

The author deliberately made an extreme condensation of the facts in
order to prevent the reader from being overwhelmed by details that
merely obscure the broad picture. It is hoped that the reader will gain
an awareness of the extreme mastery by whales of the marine environment.
Other basic concepts of biology, which are clearly illustrated by the
natural history of whales, are developed.

The intense interest and pleasure which the sight of the migrating whale
creates clearly overshadows the brief monetary benefit that the whaling
industry might gain from slaughtering it. We hope that you will be
stimulated to join forces with those of us who feel that man should
preserve those forms of life which add so much interest, beauty, and
knowledge to man’s awareness.

                      Two General Migration Routes

The migration of the California gray whale is one of the most remarkable
natural history events in the world today. The majority of these whales
journey southward just off the shore of southern California and Lower
California during January and February. Although a few early migrants
may pass San Diego early in December, they are not abundant until
Christmas. An occasional straggler can be sighted in March.

Only 20 years ago this species was so rare, that little hope was held
that it could ever recover. Today the species appears out of danger,
thanks to international cooperation among the whaling nations which
stopped the slaughter of this truly unique whale. Now it is not at all
unusual to see between 50 and 75 whales a day during the peak of the

One of the finest locations for viewing this migration is the Cabrillo
National Monument which commands an almost aerial view of the coastline.
Here individual whales can be watched for at least 1 hour, as they hove
into view from the north and at last recede to the southeast along the
Silver Strand. The first and only public observatory for whales was
established at the monument in 1951. The naturalist on duty not only
keeps a plot of the whales passing by, but also helps visitors find
their first whale. The observatory is one of the most popular wintertime
attractions in southern California. With so many pairs of eyes on hand,
it is not surprising that the count of whales is remarkably complete.
There is no other marine animal which can be seen with such certainty in
its natural element.

    [Illustration: Migrating gray whales off Point Loma, Calif.
    _Photograph by Burky Reeves._]

    [Illustration: Migrating gray whale passing San Diego, Calif.
    _Courtesy Scripps Institute of Oceanography._]

Migrating animals have always fascinated man who considered them
harbingers of the seasons. Man continues to puzzle over the mysteries of
how these animals are able to navigate so precisely and how they are
able to maintain such timetables. Whereas other migrating animals pass
broadly through an area, the California gray whales, at least on the
final part of the route, are passing along just outside the surf zone,
virtually single file! It is hard to realize that 3 months earlier these
whales started off from their summer quarters in the Arctic Ocean and
the Bering Sea, as well as along the shore of Siberia and Kamchatka en
route to their winter quarters in the lagoons and harbors along the
outer coast of Lower California. Between these two areas lie 6,000 miles
of seemingly trackless ocean. With the advent of spring the whales must
be on their way back again to their summer grounds.

Although all the large whales make such extensive travels, except the
bowhead, only the gray whale spends so much time in sight of land. The
other species are truly oceanic at all times, and never seem abundant
because of the vastness of the oceans. Like the gray whale they
congregate in polar seas during the summer months, moving into temperate
and subtropical waters for the winter months. To this day, much of the
migration route is unknown. Perhaps some day a scientist will attempt to
trail a group of whales along the entire route. The tendency of the gray
whale to hug the coast is manifest only within 600 miles of the
destination. This may be a precautionary routing which prevents the
whales from making their landfall south of the lagoons. Such an error in
navigation would not only prolong the migration, but leave the whales on
the horns of a dilemma—to swim on south or turn back?

                     Whale Waters—Summer and Winter

One cannot help but be impressed with the remarkable utilization of time
by the whales whose lives seem to be divided into two principal seasons,
a summer feeding period and a winter period of reproduction. Each of
these major activities is preceded by a tremendously long migration.
Nearly half of every year must be devoted to this activity. Considering
the extreme length of the migration, whales cannot wander aimlessly or
carelessly. Whales which summer in the Antarctic continue to do so as do
the whales in the Arctic waters, and only rarely does one pass through
the wide belt of equatorial water to venture into the other hemisphere.

Once on the summer grounds the whales occupy themselves with feeding
almost continuously during the long polar day. Even though the food is
patchy, the whales seem to find it quickly, spending a minimum of time
in search. By the onset of autumn, they are fat, and all the babies are

It is uncanny that the various species all manifest the instinctive
reaction to vacate this region at the proper time, thus avoiding almost
certain death by the freezing of the sea’s surface. Again the seeming
miracle of aptness is evident, for the whales swim unerringly out of the
dangerous areas toward warmer and calmer seas. Because of the extremely
wide band of winter storms, whales must move at least below 30° latitude
to be clear of the areas of stormy seas. Migration stops as soon as they
are sufficiently clear of these. Whales then undertake the other
essential link in the chain of life, reproduction. By spring the babies
are strong enough and fat enough to accompany their mothers.

                         Feeding—Filter Whales

Whales do not feed extensively while migrating. For the most part there
is not time enough, nor is the food plentiful enough to make it worth
the effort. However, in the polar seas the whale’s food is plentiful
enough to discolor the water. On close examination, the discoloration
proves to be caused by thousands of tiny shrimps which are very slender
and less than one-half inch in length. These creatures congregate in
swarms near the surface to feed on microscopic plants known as diatoms.
The whales need only swim back and forth through these cloudlike
aggregations to fill their mouths quickly with water and shrimp. With
each mouthful, the water is expelled between the jaws through a mat of
fibers which hangs down from the upper jaw. The shrimps, which are
retained on the mat, fall down onto the tongue and are swallowed. The
work of pushing out several tons of water with each feeding is done by
the tremendous tongue.

The fiber mats are the frayed inner side of enormous hornlike plates
which grow down from the palate. The main body of each plate is placed
edgewise to the outgoing water so that many plates are required to
complete the mat which runs from the tip of the jaw to the corner of the
mouth. These plates vary in size and stiffness from species to species.
Some of the plates from the mouth of the bowhead whale are 12-14 feet in
length, whereas in the finback whale the plates are 2-4 feet. There can
be over 200 plates per side in the filtering structure. The frayed inner
edge is constantly breaking off and the plates keep growing and fraying
to provide the necessary thickness for the mat. Technically, these
plates are called _baleen_. They were called whalebone by the whalers,
and that is the name which is still used in commerce. The plates have no
relationship to bones, nor could they be mistaken for them. The
whalebone was assiduously collected and sold to be made into a variety
of objects such as umbrella stays, corset stays, buggy whips and other
articles which today are made of steel or plastic. There was a great
demand for the product and a bowhead whale produced over a ton and
one-half of whalebone valued back in the 17th century at over 400
English pounds, equivalent to about $10,000 today.

It has been observed that the coarseness and thickness of the baleen is
suited to the size of the food which is filtered. For example, the
rorqual or Sei whale, which feeds on tiny shrimp species, has a
filtering surface which resembles fine wool. The blue whale, which feeds
on the largest of shrimps and on fish, has the coarsest filter.
Generally, fish occur only in the diets of the blue, finback and other
rorqual which swim fast enough to engulf them. Here, the fish are
weak-swimming, schooling fishes. The gray whale, unlike the other filter
feeders, feeds on bottom-frequenting crustaceans known technically as
amphipods. These organisms, occurring principally in shallow water, keep
the gray whales close to the shores of Siberia and Kamchatka.

In order for a whale to be able to exist on a 3 to 4 month feeding
period, it must have not only ample food, but time in which to collect
it. Although the whales may not all be far enough north to have a
24-hour day, there is enough twilight to let them feed the clock around.
In order to take advantage of the prodigious amounts of food available,
whales have a huge four-chambered stomach. It is not at all uncommon to
find 5 to 10 wheelbarrow loads of shrimp in the stomach. No one yet
knows how fast the food passes through the alimentary tract.

The shrimps on which the whales thrive are not uniformly concentrated,
but occur at special places where oceanographic processes have enriched
the surface waters with cold, nutrient-rich, subsurface water. The
principal oceanographic action which enriches the water at the surface
is called upwelling. It can be induced by a number of physical
conditions. One of the best places to look for upwelling is along the
edge of the polar icecaps and along the junction of strong currents.
Upwelling is one of the ways nature refertilizes the surface waters
which are otherwise deficient in nutrients. Whenever the ocean surface
is fertilized, the microscopic plants begin to grow and multiply,
discoloring the water to a brownish or reddish color. If the subsurface
waters continue to be pumped to the surface, the growth continues and a
rich ocean pasture results. The animals which begin to crop this are the
shrimps, and when they have thrived and reproduced, there are enough for
the whales. The other all-important factor in the fertility of the polar
seas is the length of day, which provides ample time for the sun’s
energy to be entrapped by plants. By autumn, the days have shortened and
night begins to predominate. At this time the microscopic plants stop
growing and form resting stages which protect them through the long

The whale has made such efficient use of its summer feeding period that
it is fat enough to live the other 8 months without danger of
starvation. Whales might be thought of as huge natural tankers carrying
enough oil to provide for long periods of active fasting. Unlike those
mammals which avoid starvation by winter hibernation, the whale is able
to migrate away from inhospitable seas into warmer waters where they can
then reproduce and care for the new young. The strain on the mother at
this time must be considerable for her baby grows at a prodigious rate.
It has been calculated that a blue whale baby grows about 10 pounds per
hour, gaining a ton every 9 days.

Although there are at least nine species of filtering whales, each seems
to be dependent on a different kind of shrimp which are seldom found
together. This prevents the various species of whales from being in
constant competition with each other. However, no one altogether
understands why there is no competition. Of course, structurally a
species may be more suited to feeding on one kind of food. The porosity
of the filter plate, which varies, may account for this. The actual
shape and size of the head varies from species to species and this may
be related to improving the efficiency of feeding. Right whales have
heads which are very large, permitting a large intake of water and the
accommodation of a tremendous set of filters. These whales have heads
which are enlarged both in width and length. In fact, the head may
account for nearly one-third of the total body. The rorqual group are
more streamlined and have proportionately smaller heads. To make up for
this limitation, the floor of the mouth is pleated on the outside which
permits the floor to balloon out like a huge scoop each time the mouth
is filled.

The right whales, incidentally, were so named by the early whalers to
apply to those species which were suitable for whaling. The majority of
whales were not molested because they sank as they died, or they were
fast-moving, wary species which could not be approached with the
whaler’s lance.

    [Illustration: Infra-red photograph of gray whale reveals heat of
    the spout and also indicates the double source of the spout.
    _Photograph by T. J. Walker._]

                          Evolution of Whales

To appreciate fully the biology of whales, one must know that their
ancestors were terrestrial mammals. It is indeed impossible to account
for all the steps which were necessary for this difficult reentry of the
oceans. However, the fossil records for whales are numerous and permit
at least a partial reconstruction of the evolutionary steps. Whales have
obtained not only complete mastery of this difficult habitat, but also
they have spread out to crop a variety of marine foods. Biologists have
generally dramatized the earlier conquest of land by marine organisms,
leaving the more recent and perhaps more difficult reentry of the marine
world by whales to go unnoticed.

_Breathing Adaptations_

Not only have whales become completely aquatic, but they have been able
to eliminate nearly all the design features which were necessary for
life on land. Only the retention of air breathing remains, and this does
not seem to be much of a hardship. There has been a great improvement in
the conservation of oxygen so that really long dives are possible. The
subtlety of this accomplishment is only partially understood by
scientists. Apparently, diving mammals are able to shut down those
bodily activities which contribute little to the diving mission. These
activities can go on later when oxygen is available. It is also normal
to incur an oxygen debt by borrowing from stockpiles present in the
tissue fluids and muscles. After a long dive a whale will idle at the
surface in order to completely free the body of the excess carbon
dioxide, and to pay back the oxygen debt. The greater the debt the
longer the surfacing, and the greater the number of breaths which must
be taken.

When a whale surfaces to breathe, the act of exhaling is called
“blowing.” Whenever a whale has been submerged for a normal dive, the
air in the lungs becomes saturated with moisture from the blood. The
exhalation of this spent air is accomplished very quickly by forcing the
air out under pressure by the diaphragm, and the sudden expansion of the
expelled air produces sufficient cooling to condense the moisture. This
cloud or fog is the most conspicuous feature of a surfaced whale,
particularly when the spout is 10 to 15 feet in height. Within a
minute’s time the fog is usually scattered and heated enough to
disappear. The duration of the spout depends principally on the
temperature of the surrounding air, the amount of moisture condensed
from the breath and the local surface wind. At the higher latitudes air
temperatures are low enough that the spout may persist for several
minutes. It is possible to recognize some of the whale species by the
form and size of the spout.

Inhalation is accomplished very quickly. The breathing act is generally
both visible and audible. The release of air produces a very loud
“whoosh” which can be heard for quite a distance on a quiet day. The
nostrils are called blowholes. In order to facilitate breathing, they
have been moved from the tip of the snout to the top of the head (with
the exception of the sperm whale), to prevent waves from flooding the
lungs. During diving, the pressure of the water operates on the nostril
in such a way as to close the nostril from the outside so that
regardless of depth there can be no leak. The natural buoyancy of the
animal exposes enough of the head to keep the nostrils clear of the

The nostrils communicate directly to the lungs rather than share a
portion of the throat as is customary in other air-breathing
vertebrates. This means that the whale’s mouth and throat can be full of
water without danger of flooding the lungs, and that it is unnecessary
to empty such a spacious cavern prior to breathing. Furthermore, it is
unlikely that a whale could keep his mouth closed enough to prevent
flooding through the baleen because there is no upper lip over this

Although a whale can be sighted by the telltale spout, a frightened
whale may elude detection by exhaling just before surfacing, so that
nothing more than a foamy patch is produced. Under these situations the
whale does not expose the usual amount of buoyant head, but only the
nostrils. A disturbed whale can dive, and then surface a mile or two
away, or it may not move at all, preferring to hide on the bottom or
among rocky reefs or in the kelp. The California gray whale was judged
by whalers to be the most wary and elusive of them all.

_Swimming Adaptations_

The most essential features needed for the successful invasion of the
marine habitat were those necessary for efficient propulsion. Fish, eons
before, had solved the hydrodynamic equations necessary for movement
through such a resistive medium. This solution required a streamlined
form with a tail for propulsion, placed at the very end of the body.
Extra fins were employed for maneuvering and for balancing. Whales, too,
have reached the same solution, and man, when he finally develops
sufficient highspeed submarines, will employ the same solution, namely
streamlining. As a consequence, all whales look alike, differing
principally in the degree of streamlining, color or size. In a whale’s
streamlined body there can be no sharp discontinuities to accommodate
the head, the neck, the trunk, and lastly the tail. Instead these
features must grade imperceptibly one into the other. The only allowable
discontinuity is the end of the tail which is expanded into fanshaped
lobes to function like a propeller.

    [Illustration: Gray whale rolled over on side during courtship. Note
    outline under water of tail and tailflukes. _Courtesy Scripps
    Institute of Oceanography._]

These features, called tail flukes, are driven up and down in contrast
to the tail of a fish which is driven sidewise. Whales have long banks
of muscle along either side of the backbone which attach to the tail
flukes by means of tendons. This makes it unnecessary to disturb the
streamlined form by bending the hind part of the trunk as is necessary
when fish drive with their tails. It also makes it possible to devote a
great deal more muscle to the task. The power developed by these muscles
is prodigious, capable of driving a 100-ton body through the water at
speeds up to 20 knots. Wounded whales can smash a 20-foot whaleboat to
bits with a single slap of the tail.

The hind limbs which were useful on land have been eliminated and all
that persists are vestigial bones or cartilages which are buried deep
below the surface of the body. The forelimbs have undergone reduction
and modification into flippers which assist in the turning and diving.
The flippers are useful in other ways, providing a platform on which the
baby may stay when danger threatens. They are also useful during
courtship and mating, but not for combat. The toothless whales do not
have too much to fight with. They may strike an adversary with the
powerful tail flukes, and during courtship the males jostle and bump
each other.

Whales are almost completely hairless, save for a few bristles on their
heads. Certainly the elimination of hair has improved streamlining, and
has reduced the frictional drag. Furthermore, continuously wet hair
could not have been of much value in keeping the whale warm. It is also
possible that a hairy whale would have been very much bothered by skin
parasites which would have flourished in the quiet water between the
hairs. However, if this prompted the loss of hair, it was in vain for
now the streamlined bodies of humpbacks and right whales are marred by
large encrusting barnacles. It is surprising that the barnacles do not
completely cover the whales. Perhaps they are scraped off on the bottom,
or they cannot flourish during the long migration or in
plankton-impoverished waters of the winter quarters. At any rate the
parasites are kept partially under control so that much of the
streamlined surface is unblemished.

If the physical properties of water forced upon whales a common shape,
they did at least, by the buoyant effect, free the animals of the need
for structural and muscular developments to support themselves against
the pull of gravity. Free of this structural problem, whales were able
to evolve into the largest mammals which the world has ever known. As
they became larger, they had to shift in their feeding to slower and
less maneuverable prey. It would appear that the porpoises, which feed
on the rapid-swimming, elusive fishes, are small in order to catch their
prey. The whales, which have specialized to feed on the jet propelled
squids, were able to evolve into much larger whales because they could
capture the squid either by stealthy approach or by sucking the squid
into the mouth, thus counteracting its jet.

    [Illustration: Tailflukes extended for deep dive. _Courtesy Scripps
    Institute of Oceanography._]

                              Whale Types

_Porpoises and Dolphins_

Whales are known technically as cetaceans (pronounced seh-TAY-shuns); so
also are the various porpoises and dolphins which are mostly eaters of
fish. These are certainly the most numerous of all the cetaceans, making
up in numbers for their small size (6 to 8 feet). A few species range
between 20 and 30 feet. Porpoises and dolphins congregate around schools
of fish. Therefore fishermen are constantly on the lookout for a sight
of them. Since not infrequently the porpoises break the surface of the
water, leaping completely clear as if for a look around, they are not
difficult to locate. Porpoises and dolphins can be seen most frequently
in coastal waters where fish are most abundant. The porpoise and dolphin
families contain a great many species and it is beyond the scope of this
treatise to differentiate or name them all. However, these families
include such unique forms as the killer whale, narwhal, white whale (or
beluga as it is known to the Eskimos), and the pilot or black whale.
Generally one associates cetaceans with the ocean, so it may come as a
surprise to find that four dolphin species live in such major rivers as
the Amazon, La Plata, Ganges, and the Yangtze.

In dolphins, the mouth protrudes beyond the head as a beak or snout, and
in porpoises, the front of the head is blunt or gently rounded. It is
impossible to avoid confusion if one uses common names to separate the
various whales. Even though the word whale properly covers all the
kinds, to some it connotes only the larger species. Such a distinction
is wholly arbitrary, and cannot properly differentiate the natural
groupings of whales to which zoologists have assigned technical names.
It would be impossible to summarize the variety of common names which
many of the species have acquired through the centuries. The only
solution to this is to refer to the whales by the technical names which
connote relationship. (For readers who desire this differentiation, a
brief listing of the groups and representatives of each are provided in
an appendix.)

    [Illustration: BALEEN WHALES]

  HUMP-BACKED WHALE (unlabelled in picture)
  The Sperm Whale is given here for size comparison only.

    [Illustration: TOOTHED WHALES]


_Squid Eaters_

The bottlenose whales are nearly toothless, feeding on squid like their
close relatives, the sperm whales. Porpoises and dolphins possess many
sharp conical teeth on both the upper and lower jaws, although the
narwhal which is related to them, breaks the rule by being toothless
save for the tusklike canine of the male. In this instance either the
right or left tooth elongates to produce an 8-foot spear. The other
tooth does not break the gum, and this is the condition found in the
female where both are rudimentary and not evident. The bottlenose whales
have but a single pair of teeth in the lower jaw, and their relatives,
the sperm whales, have 18-28 conical teeth per side on the lower jaw,
and these when fully grown may be 8 inches in length. Pockets are
provided in the toothless gum of the upper jaw to accommodate the teeth
when the mouth is closed.

The decline in the number of teeth in the sperm and bottlenose whales is
thought to be the elimination of structures which are no longer useful.
Whereas a porpoise’s long mouth, bristling with sharp teeth, insures the
hooking and retention of a slippery active fish, a small mouth with a
few teeth is adequate to crush and slurp down the squid and the
weak-swimming fishes of the abyssal depths.

The sperm whale is the largest of the squid feeders, reaching 60 feet.
There is a diminutive counterpart, the pygmy sperm whale, which reaches
13 feet. It is exceedingly rare, whereas the sperm whale is abundant in
temperate and tropical seas. The beaked whales complete the groups
specialized for feeding on squid. Besides the modification of the mouth,
all these whales are noted for their ability to dive to great depths
where their food abounds. Not only can they dive to great depths, but
they can stay submerged for long periods—up to an hour? Sperm whales
have been found entangled in the submarine cables which were known to be
on the bottom at a depth of 3,000 feet. It is clear that such feeding
habits have opened up vast areas of the oceans to these species.

_Filter Whales_

The whalebone whales seem to have undertaken two different lines of
specialization in feeding: The right whales developed an enormous head
with a very large filter plate, whereas the rorquals are much more
streamlined with a small filter plate. The ability of the latter to
gather food is insured by the pleated throat. The right whales lack a
dorsal fin and are decidedly less streamlined. The rorquals have a
dorsal fin. There are two species which do not exactly fit in either
group. The humpback whale appears to be like the rorquals in that it has
a pleated throat and a suggestion of a fin. It is however, a very bulky
slow swimming species. The California gray whale, apparently, is
intermediate between the two groups and may be thought to be a survivor
of the ancestral stock from which both groups differentiated. It has
neither a pleated throat nor a fin. The gray whale, like the right
whale, has been slow to recover from whaling. It is likely that the
populations were never very large. Only the rorquals seem to have the
numbers needed for large whaling operations.

                        Significance of Blubber

_Heat Conservation_

As whales extended their operations into the icy waters of polar regions
or into the cold waters of the ocean depths, they had to develop means
of keeping warm. Anyone who has attempted to swim in cold water knows
how quickly one loses his body heat and becomes chilled. Whales minimize
the heat loss by accumulating a thick layer of fat just below the
surface of the skin. The fatty layer, called blubber, not only keeps the
whale warm, but it also provides for food storage. It has already been
stressed how important it is for whales to survive long periods without
eating, so it is likely that the two specializations arose together.

There are, however, extensive areas of the whale which cannot be
blanketed with fat and these are the flippers and the large tail flukes.
It has been observed that the blood going into these structures gives up
its heat not to the outside but to the veins which parallel and surround
the arteries. By this anatomical feature most of the heat which would
otherwise be lost to the water, is recaptured by the veins which deliver
the heat back into the body. Of course, this means that the tissues of
the tail flukes and flippers function at temperatures much lower than
those found within the body. Here we find that nature was using the
principal of the heat exchanger long before man discovered it or put it
to work in air conditioning.

Whales are so well insulated that they stay quite warm 24-36 hours after
death. Whalers must process the whales quickly, for otherwise, at the
elevated body temperature, decomposition proceeds most rapidly and ruins
much of the meat. It is possible that the baleen-bearing whales do not
cross the warm equatorial waters because they overheat. No one has yet
determined whether the newborn young have a sufficient layer of fat to
protect them from the cold water, and it has been suggested that whales
calve in temperate waters to prevent the babies from being chilled.
However, there are species like the narwhal and the white whale which
calve in Arctic waters.


Another aspect to the extensive deposits of fat is that these tissues
are lighter than water and help counteract the heaviness of the whale’s
body so that with the assistance of the lungs neutral buoyancy is
achieved. The fat is accumulated in between the muscle strands, and in
fact, in every available nook and cranny.

_Food Storage_

Much of this fat is drawn upon for food. Whenever a whale is existing on
its fatty tissue, acetone is one of the waste products which must be
eliminated in the breath. This pungent material makes the breath very
strong and noticeable at these times. Certainly among whales, there is
no stigma attached to being fat or having halitosis.

Ordinarily fatty tissues only accumulate when there is a surplus of food
over the needs of the animal. You might suspect that whales would need
to stockpile fat first, in order to remain warm and buoyant, and that
growth would be curtailed and accomplished last. However, studies on the
growth of whales show that the efficiency of food gathering is so high
and food so plentiful, that growth not only continues but at a
tremendous pace.

                            Sexual Maturity

Whales mature sexually between their third and seventh years. Toothed
cetaceans attain sexual maturity later than filter-feeding whales. A
blue whale is sexually mature at 5 years, whereas porpoises require at
least 7 years. Most filtering whales are sexually mature in 2 or 3
years. Whales are not fully grown at sexual maturity, but they continue
to grow for years. In most mammals growth stops with sexual maturity.
Female whales generally can be expected to produce a baby every other
year, for the gestation period is approximately one year. Babies are
nursed for about 9 months. At birth the baby is completely formed and
active, but lacking baleen, must nurse. A blue whale baby at birth
weighs approximately 8 tons, about 1/12th of the weight of the mother.
The mother provides the baby with 50 gallons of milk a day. Since the
nursing is done under water, and the baby must surface frequently to
breathe, the act of nursing is very brief. Muscles in the breasts of the
mother force the milk into the baby’s mouth in large amounts. The baby
will double its length in 7 months, which averages to a daily weight
gain of 220 pounds. During all this time the mother must fatten for the
winter ahead, and perhaps continue to grow herself.

                               Life Span

It is not known for certain how long a whale may live after completing
its growth. At the present time, commercially important species seldom
attain physical maturity before being captured. Many whales which are
captured are measured for scientific study. Such measurements also keep
the whalers from taking undersized juveniles. Whales apparently do not
live to be very old. Fifty years appears to be the best current estimate
of a life span.

    [Illustration: Back of a gray whale showing barnacles and barnacle
    scars. _Courtesy of Scripps Institute of Oceanography._]

                           Whale Intelligence

Whales are apparently very intelligent animals. Whalers have remarked
how difficult it is to approach whales which have previously escaped.
The gray whales were observed actually avoiding the coast after shore
whaling had been carried out for a few seasons. Animal trainers have
found the toothed whales particularly apt pupils, and these animals are
the stellar attraction of the various oceanaria.

                              Whale Senses


Little is known, however, about the capabilities of the various sensory
organs. Certainly the eyes are very important and are effective under
water. It is not likely that the eye is very effective out of water,
even though whales do elevate the head out of the water for a look
around. The behavior has been appropriately called “spyhopping,” and it
is manifested usually in the ice floes. Killer whales are believed to
search the sea’s surface and the edge of the icebergs for seals and


Whales appear to have very acute hearing. The report of a whaling gun
will alarm whales which have previously tolerated the whaling vessel
close aboard. Whalers have noted that in very foggy weather whales are
much more difficult to approach because of the increased sensitivity to
noise. The toothed cetaceans which are gregarious are capable of a great
variety of vocalizations. Much of this is ultrasonic to man and it has
been suggested that these emissions are used like man’s sonar for
finding obstacles and food. Considering the limited range of vision
possible in water which is usually hazy or turbid, such a feature would
be most useful. There is a continual chatter among members of a porpoise
school, or gam, as the whalers call them. The accumulated noise serves
as a beacon to which straying members can home when they have gotten out
of visual range, which incidentally is under 300 feet. No one yet knows
exactly how these animals can produce these sounds without being able to
move air across the vocal chords. They do not exhale under water, and
yet they are continually noisy.


The sense of smell is not important to whales, and the organ was
abandoned when the nostrils were shifted to the back of the head and
modified for diving. Although man may never be able to test whales
experimentally for their sensual acuities, it is quite apparent that
they are fully aware of their environment. They clearly recognize the
environmental signposts which guide them to and from their various
areas. Oceanographers are not nearly as adept in knowing where they are
on the ocean. Whales clearly recognize their own particular kind, and
they do not intermingle. Incidentally, man finds it difficult to
differentiate some of the whale species. Because of the rarity of
specimens and information, the identity of some species may still be in


Filtering whales, unlike the gregarious porpoises and dolphins, seldom
school. Even when they appear to be abundant in a limited area, they
have congregated for feeding and not for social interaction. Toothed
cetaceans, on the other hand, are generally sociable. The sperm whale
travels in large groups of females dominated by a single bull whale. The
other males have been driven away and the victorious male exercises
control of the harem only as long as he wins these contests. Once the
dominant male is defeated, he becomes a solitary individual.


_Killer Whales_

Whales, by virtue of their size and speed, are not preyed upon by other
animals. The killer whale, however, has the size and inclination.
Generally, it is content to capture seals, sea birds, and fishes, and it
does not range too far from this prey. There have been isolated reports
of killer whales attacking the gray whale. The gray whale is described
as being very disturbed whenever a killer whale appears. On the coast of
Siberia the gray whale will hide in very shallow water and if cornered
is said to go into shock, floating at the surface, stomach up, while the
killer whale bites at the tongue and flippers. Perhaps reports like this
have been improperly interpreted. It is easy to understand how killer
whales would congregate around the catch of the whaler. Recently studies
on the loss of hooked tunas from the long-line fishery of the Japanese,
show that killer whales are adept at stealing fish along the setline.
Additional studies on the natural history of the killer whale must be
made before its relationship to other whales can be properly assessed.


If whales generally lead a charmed life with respect to predators, they
still have their share of parasites both external and internal. Their
huge bodies are ideal platforms for the growth of barnacles which have
specialized for this unusual habitat. Another very annoying skin
parasite is the whale louse, which is a flattish small crustacean which
clings by claws to the delicate skin. The digestive tract of the whale
provides a wonderful habitat for round worms and tapeworms. Like their
host, these parasites are the largest of their kind. Other organs such
as the kidneys, liver and lungs are infested too.

Sperm whales suffer from another affliction which is an obstruction of
the intestine by a fatty concretion which forms from the bile.
Ordinarily these are passed from the digestive tract when small, but if
they are retained and continue to grow, an obstruction is possible. The
material is a grayish wax which is known as ambergris. It is used by the
perfume industry to make permanent blends of various fragrances. Most of
this material is obtained by whalers when they process the sperm whale.
Only rarely does the material float ashore after the death of the
unfortunate producer. Nowadays the value of ambergris is but moderate.

                          Whale Abnormalities

Whales are found with healed broken bones which must have been incurred
by fighting and other collisions. The skin of whales is mottled with
scars which were produced by parasites and by fighting. Toothed whales
are especially scarred from the raking by the teeth of an adversary
during battles for dominance. For at least 5 centuries, man has preyed
on the whale. In recent times navies of several nations have been
alarmed by unidentified underwater objects which cannot easily be
distinguished from submarines. Some of these contacts are produced by
whales. The counter measures not only cost the whale its life, but also
causes the navies unnecessary expenditures of depth charges and time,
and produce considerable tension and anxiety.

                     Inadequate Knowledge of Whales

Whales have been extensively described both in popular and scientific
writings. However, their story is by no means complete or correct. It
will be many years before all the information can be obtained on these
animals which range the wide oceans where man must study them under
great disadvantage. Until man has the underwater mobility and
maneuverability of whales, he will have to be content with surmise and
interpretations based on limited observations.

There is a great deal known about the anatomy and fine structure of
whales. You can certainly admire the work of the early anatomists who
persevered in dissecting the partially decomposed carcasses of stranded
specimens. What a contrast to the opportunity afforded now to the
anatomist who need merely be present on a whaling ship station to
receive any part which he wishes to examine. It takes the whaling
station 4 to 6 hours to butcher a whale completely.

    [Illustration: Close-up of a “spyhopping” gray whale. _Courtesy
    Scripps Institute of Oceanography._]

Naturally, the whales which are currently the object of research are
those which are commercially important and available. The California
gray whale which would be convenient for study is no longer taken
commercially. Permission would have to be obtained from the
International Whaling Commission to secure even a single specimen, and a
scientist could not easily obtain a specimen without the assistance of
whalers. Fortunately, we know a great deal about the species as a result
of an extensive monograph prepared nearly 100 years ago by Captain C. M.
Scammon, who was among the first to whale this animal commercially.
Professor Edward D. Cope described the species, giving it the name
_Rhachianectes glauca_, after he examined a skeleton which had been
shipped to him at the Philadelphia Museum.

Roy Chapman Andrews of the American Museum prepared the first detailed
description of a living specimen which he found at a Korean whaling
station. At the time of his report the species had not been seen for
many years and had been believed extinct. More recently Russian
scientists published considerable material which they had obtained from
Russian whalers who had continued to take an occasional specimen during
the thirties of this century.

They made a detailed study of the food of this whale, and they clearly
showed that the herd which summered in the Sea of Okhotsk and wintered
off Korea did not intermingle with the Siberian herd which wintered in
the lagoons off Lower California. For the last 20 years or so, the
species has enjoyed protection from whaling on an international basis.
Since 1947 whaling scientists of the Canadian and American fishery
agencies have published data principally on the recovery of the
California herd, and to a degree have filled in some of the gaps in its
life history. There is still a great deal to be learned, and it may be
that some of the published observations will have to be revised or
discarded. It is likely that the California gray whale is quite similar
in many of its biological details to those which appear to be general in
the commercially important species.

                         California Gray Whale

_Evolutionary Place_

It should be kept in mind, however, that this whale is the most
primitive of the living baleen-bearing whales, and it seems to represent
the point in the evolutionary sequence from which the two main groups
diverged. The California gray whale is the sole survivor of a family of
whales which in past eons was represented by many species. It has a
smallish head with a limited filtering mechanism. Its dependence on
foods which are found only near to shore is considered further evidence
that it is primitive. Likewise its need for harbors to calve suggests
that it has not lost its dependence on the nearshore habitat, even
though it can safely cross the wide Pacific. The extremely restricted
and separated distribution pattern of the whale is typical of an old,
primitive species which persists either in its preferred ancestral home,
or which occupies less desirable habitats into which it was forced by
the more successful species. Recently gray whale remains were found in
the Netherlands, and it is possible that it was exterminated in European
waters by prehistoric whaling prior to the Ice Age.

    [Illustration: Gray whale breaching. _Photograph by T. J. Walker._]

    [Illustration: Another gray whale “spyhopping.” Notice the narrow
    tapering head, typical of the California gray whale. _Courtesy of
    the Scripps Institute of Oceanography._]

_Geographic Distribution_

Today the species is restricted to two distinct populations existing on
opposite sides of the Pacific. One herd summers in the Sea of Okhotsk,
migrating southward to Korea where, in the open bays, calving takes
place in January, February and March. The larger population summers off
the coast of Siberia and Kamchatka, migrating clear across the Pacific
Ocean to California and then south to the breeding lagoons near Bahia de
Sebastian Viscaino, situated on the outer coast of Baja California. A
few whales have been noted around the tip of Baja California and in the
gulf itself. These are part of a small group which calve in lagoons
along the mainland of Mexico just inside the Gulf of California. It has
been suggested that the recovery of the species was possible because
these lagoons were unknown to whalers. It is, however, unlikely that the
whalers continued to whale until they had completely wiped out the
populations of the main lagoons. The inability of the species to support
intensive whaling suggests both a limited population and an animal with
a low reproductive potential. Since 1850 there have been three brief
periods of whaling, each separated by about 20 years. Each succeeding
period of whaling has been shorter, suggesting that 20 years is not a
long enough recovery period.

_Shore Habits_

Generally speaking, shallow water is dangerous for the larger whales,
other than the gray and right whales. Strandings of the other species do
occur, which can be interpreted to mean that these whales are not afraid
of shallow water. However, when they strand they die. The cause of
stranding is difficult to determine. Perhaps the victim is sick and
drifts ashore. Most strandings occur during severe storms which quickly
obscure the bottom features by stirring up the sand and mud. The
stranding of the pilot whale is most dramatic because entire groups will
come ashore as if afraid to go back to sea. If man intercedes and helps
free them, they still refuse to escape. The cause of the panic and
subsequent action is unknown, although it is unlikely that the action is
mass suicide as so colorfully described in newspaper accounts. Most
other strandings suggest that the whale was out of its normal habitat.

The gray whale, however, has no difficulty in this dangerous region, and
in fact they negotiate the treacherous turbid channels of the lagoons,
notwithstanding the strong tidal currents which flow through them. They
have also been observed rolling in the surf in water barely deep enough
to float them. Should stranding occur, they seem to realize that it is
only momentary as another swell will come along to free them. For the
other species, stranding produces fright and struggling which only
exhaust them and lodge them deeper into the bottom. Death usually
results from overheating, although it is noted that a stranded whale
finds it difficult to breathe normally because the weight of the body
out of water crushes the chest cavity.

At the present time it is difficult to understand why the lagoons are
used by the gray whale for calving. It may be an ancestral behavior
trait which has been inherited. It is most likely, however, that the
quiet waters facilitate birth and nursing during the time the baby is
gaining strength for the long migration. The observation that the whales
may roll and rub themselves against the muddy banks has led to some
conjecture that the lagoons help control the skin parasites.

You may wonder whether the lagoons, which are limited in number and in
extent, may control the size of the population. Lagoons are subject to
change in size and depth through geologic processes, and they may be
created or destroyed. The lagoons which are used by the whales are
remote and seldom visited by man. You wonder whether the whales would
continue to use them if they were also used much by man. The California
gray whale has not used San Diego Harbor for over 100 years. Perhaps San
Diego Bay was used because the other lagoons were then overpopulated.
Certainly the total population of whales has never again reached the
numbers which existed before the whalers started.

_Scientific Description_

It has already been mentioned that the gray whale was described by
Professor Cope in 1868-69. The scientific name by which he tagged it,
_Rhachianectes glauca_, describes the fact that the whale is blue-gray
in color, and that it frequents rocky reefs. Because the species did not
resemble any other whale, he placed it in a separate family, the
Rhachianectidae. Cope was not aware that paleontologists had found and
described fossils of whales which were very similar to the gray whale.
Of course, the paleontologists working in Europe did not know that there
was a living representative of these fossil whales which they had named
_Eschrichtius_. However, this oversight was finally realized by Dutch
cetologists Van Deinse and Junge, who in 1937 corrected the mistake by
placing the gray whale in the genus Eschrichtius, discarding the old
genus name Rhachianectes. If you wish to search the scientific
literature on the gray whale prior to 1937, you must look for it under
the old name Rhachianectes. This is not the first or last time a
scientific alias will be produced; yet this one serves to dramatize the
fact that the gray whale is truly a living fossil, which is a reminder
of some of the evolutionary steps over which the other whales passed to
gain the structural and behavioral features needed to occupy the many
areas of the oceans.

    [Illustration: Infra-red photograph of a gray whale. Note the
    lingering spout and the blow holes at the forward end of the
    surfaced whale. _Photograph by T. J. Walker._]

_Reaction to Whaling_

The California gray whale is known by other common names, such as “Koku
Kujira” of the Japanese, which means “the devil fish.” This indicates
the cleverness of the gray whale and the dangers associated with hunting
it. Whalers universally considered this species the most difficult to
whale and the only one which might charge the boat. Gray whales
certainly seemed to learn quickly the dangers to them from whaling.
Captain Scammon considered this species the most interesting, giving it
top billing in his book on the _Mammals of the Pacific Coast_. He
reports that it was standard practice in the lagoons to kill the baby in
order to lure the mother into harpoon range. In these encounters, the
whalers showed great courage standing the charge of the angry mother, as
they took a chance of losing their boats and their lives. The females of
other whale species have a strong maternal instinct, but none of them
seems to be so consistently willing to fight for its young as the gray

We still do not know much about the behavior of the gray whale or the
other filtering whales. At present, the people who are best informed on
this subject are the whalers. They can ill afford to waste valuable time
trailing whales which are too wary to be approached. In general, feeding
whales are easiest to approach, being intent on feeding and completely
oblivious to the approach of a whaling vessel. At other times, the
whales are disturbed by the least noise. Ordinarily, once a whale is
harpooned, it attempts to escape its tormentors, rather than turn and
demolish the boat, which of course, would have put an early end to
whaling. In the instances where a whale has rammed a boat, it is usually
an accident, occurring during the death flurry. However, there are
exceptions, and of course, these make whaling hazardous.

_How Do They Sleep?_

One question about whale behavior that remains somewhat unanswered
is—how much rest do whales require? There have been indications that the
California gray whale in the lagoons of Lower California may rest a good
deal. However, the question of sleep during the long migration or on the
feeding grounds, has not been answered, and as yet attempts to determine
this have been hardly more than preliminary tries. In order to succeed
at this venture, observers must be able to remain close enough to the
whales at night to be within sound of the spouts. Limited visibility at
night, and the amount and direction of the boat’s drift, make it
difficult to keep contact with a whale spouting only once every 4 to 15
minutes. The scientists who sail with the whalers to study whales are
too busy with the daily catch to consider this problem of how much a
whale sleeps. Occasionally, a whale is struck by a ship during the
night, and this is considered as indirect evidence that the whale was
asleep on the surface.

_Migration Groupings_

The California gray whale is not believed to be particularly gregarious.
The groupings observed at the lagoons are thought to be due to the
limited areas which are available for mating and calving. There is some
indication that they form groups during their migrations. Russian
observers say that early in autumn groups gather and start out on the
migration. The Japanese have noted groups of moderate size remaining
together during the crossing of the Bering Sea. As yet no one has
attempted to trail a group of grays along the entire migration route.
Not only would this establish the route, but might also add to our
knowledge about their behavior en route.

At San Diego three categories of migrants have been observed on the
southward migration. During the early and middle periods of the
migration, many individual whales are seen apart from the group. These
are believed to be pregnant females. They travel at about 4 knots and
surface frequently, about every 3 minutes. The migrating groups of three
to five are believed to be nonpregnant females accompanied by one or
more males. These are already courting, and it appears that the males
are jousting for the attention of the females. At any rate, the
migration is less hurried, and the individuals spend a great deal of
time on the surface, blowing and milling about. Such groups are seen
principally during the middle part of the migration, and they are
easiest to sight. They afford the spectators at Cabrillo National
Monument quite a show. Not infrequently, these groups put on a display
for an hour or two. It is difficult to observe all the details of
courtship, but it is believed that during mating the animals lie quietly
in the water. On the migration, the courting whales roll over in the
water extending the flippers alternately like spars. Mating generally
takes place near the lagoons and also in the lower ends of the lagoons.
A few matings have been observed at Point Loma.


Occasionally the gray whale will burst out of the water at about a 45
degree angle, and will turn over, falling back with a tremendous splash.
This is called breaching, and its significance is not known. Although it
is considered part of the courtship behavior, this is difficult to
reconcile with the observation that it is more frequently displayed by
solitary migrants. Whales may breach more than once, and in fact, one
was observed to jump repeatedly, as many as 25 times within an hour’s
passing of the Point Loma area. Here one or two migrants will breach
each week. Unfortunately, the act takes place so quickly that you only
notice the final splash, at best obtaining only a quick glimpse of the
whale’s massive body. However, this sight repays many hours of patient

Toward the end of the season you see that the migrants are smaller and
closer to shore, frequently just beyond the surf. These are believed to
be last year’s young, making the trip alone for the first time. They not
only swim more slowly, but they also seem to wander into the kelp and
into every irregularity of the coast. Those which enter the kelp may
raise the head vertically out of the water in an action called
spyhopping. They are obviously trying to find a passage through the
kelp. The fact that the gray whale does not spyhop regularly on its
migration along the shore must mean that its orientation is based either
on the sound of the surf or the depth of the water. Spyhopping is
apparently employed by the whales in the lagoons, and it has been
observed frequently for the other species in the ice floes of the polar


The role which whaling has played in man’s conquest of the oceans has
never been given full credit by historians. Initially, man was content
to fish along the shore, and then gradually he pushed out on the waters
in sight of land. Here he learned to be a skilled fisherman, and he
began to hunt the coastal whales. Man gradually developed the boats,
gear, and the know-how, called seamanship, and gained the courage to
venture farther and farther from land. Even as late as the 15th century
sailors were extremely superstitious and believed in sea monsters. There
was, of course, a certain basis for these imaginings. Periodically, a
large whale would strand or float ashore and it is easy to understand
how these tremendous and misshapen remains could have kindled the
imagination. Whaling was an extremely hazardous profession, calling for
the utmost in nautical skill. Throughout the development of the maritime
resources of some European states, whaling was one of their most
profitable businesses. Even though a great deal of shipbuilding was
initiated by man’s speculative desire to find new lands and to conduct
trade, an equal amount was for whaling vessels. From the Middle Ages to
nearly the end of the 19th century, oil from whales illuminated some
homes and streets. Whale meat was an important source of protein for
peoples who had not yet developed extensive animal husbandry.

For over five centuries whales have been under attack by professional
hunters, and long before that by the aboriginal peoples of many lands.
The reason whales have withstood this hunting pressure better than land
animals is due to the fact that their ocean habitat has not been invaded
by man for agriculture, and in the days of sailing ships and hand
harpooning, the whale was a formidable prey, far more so than in our
present day of motorization and automation. The tremendous area of their
habitat made it difficult and time consuming for man to find them, and
his ignorance of their migration routes and the oceanographic features
which cause whales to disperse and congregate gave the whales some
protection. Technological advances, powerful harpoon guns and totally
mechanized factory ships in the whaling industry have swung the
advantage to man, and whales are now in peril of extinction as is the
whaling industry itself.

_Whalers as Explorers_

History tends to stress the great explorers who discovered new worlds
and the larger islands of the Pacific. However, ships cannot with full
safety, ply the seven seas until every island and shoal has been found
and charted, and ships cannot safely venture near any shore until the
adjoining waters have been systematically charted. The principal
discoverers of these danger spots have been the whalers who patiently
combed so much of the oceans in their search for whales. Every island
has on it the calling cards of Whalers who put ashore for water, food,
fuel, or just to stretch their legs and to satisfy their curiosity. This
isn’t to say that they had the time to make hydrographic surveys, but at
least their log books defined the areas where surveys would eventually
have to be made. Whalers lived adventure, and danger was their common
lot. It is not surprising that much of this adventure would find its way
into the hearts of men through yarns and tales such as _Moby Dick_.

_Prehistoric Whaling_

Whaling was practiced long before historic times. The coastal Eskimos of
the arctic Americas and of Greenland and Spitzenberg practiced whaling.
Whales were approached in skin-covered boats and even from the edge of
ice floes. These peoples are differentiated ethnically on the basis of
the variations in their whaling techniques, in their whaling gear and in
their religious preparations for whaling. It took great courage to whale
in such frigid waters where an overturning meant death. It is not
surprising that these peoples looked to supernatural deities who
required a very complex ritual to insure a safe and successful hunt.

The principal method of hunting involved coming up alongside the whale
so that the man in the bow, the whaling captain, could spear the chest.
If he were lucky enough to drive the shaft between the ribs, the lung
could be pierced and the whale would be mortally wounded. Each time the
whale surfaced the boat would attempt another approach and lancing. The
stone tip of the lance was detachable, and when freed, led to an
inverted sealskin float by a long line of twisted sinews. These floats
marked the location of the whale during submergence. Eventually the
whale, weakened by loss of blood and by fright, would die and then came
the chore of hand pulling the whale ashore for feasting and
reprovisioning the village’s storehouses. The captain of the boat and
his crew were considered the most skilled and important of the hunters.
Whaling was an ancestral skill which was passed on generation to
generation with great care. The villages could ill afford to lose their
best men, or the equipment which was difficult to make.

There are interesting variations to this method. Aleutian islanders
prepared a poisonous coating for the harpoon tip which was sufficiently
toxic to kill the whale. This was prepared from the deadly aconite by a
secret process, depending upon the concentration of the alkaloid poison
from the root. Eskimos from Greenland and Spitzenberg dried another
secret coating on the harpoon tip which consisted of a bacterium which
produced fatal blood poisoning in the whale. In either method the
whalers waited for the bloated carcass to surface and then they hauled
it ashore for eating. Apparently the spoiled meat had no ill effects on
these peoples, but of course, much of their food was spoiled during the

Much of the religion of these primitive peoples centered around the need
of giving the whaler and his crewmen the necessary courage and
confidence to perform this job. Religious ceremonies were held weeks
before, and again after, every hunt. Some of the deities were whales,
and whales also figure predominantly in many of their folk tales.

The European and American whalers came in direct contact with the
Eskimos competing not only for whales, but also for seals, walrus, and
fur-bearing animals. Today, Eskimos use harpoon guns and sturdy wooden
whale boats. However, the entire village still turns out to drag a whale
ashore. Each village kills only what it requires for food and oil
through the long arctic winter. They hunt the arctic bowhead whale,
although the smaller white whale (beluga) is also hunted. The bowhead
has never recovered from commercial whaling, even though it has been
protected for years by the International Whaling Commission. The
regulations however, do not apply to the aborigines, but their needs
should not have prevented the whales from becoming plentiful again.

The Indians who occupy the coastal waters of south Alaska and British
Columbia are excellent salmon fishermen, but do not whale, even though
they possess magnificent boats suitable for this. However, at the
entrance to Puget Sound and south along the Olympic Peninsula live
Indians who hunted whales as recently as 50 years ago. They whaled in
much the same way as did the early Eskimos, with detachable stonetipped
lances and sealskin floats. It is believed that the whale they hunted
was the California gray. Boats were hewn from the massive trunks of
cedars. From the bark and wiry branches, a tough flexible line was
woven, strong enough to withstand the terrific pull of the whale. These
Indians repeatedly lanced the whale until its death. The generation of
Indians who knew this skill is gone, and the present generation only
remembers vaguely the tales of their grandparents. The Washington State
Historical Museum in Seattle has managed to interview the old-timers and
collect their gear which is now on display there.

The Kamchadal and Chuchee Eskimos whose villages looked out on the
summer grounds of the California gray were not inclined to whale. They
did, however, feed on any which happened to wash ashore.

_Historic Whaling_

Commercial whaling began in Spain during the Middle Ages. At that time
the black right whale was plentiful along the coast of the Basque
province, and it provided an ideal quarry because it could be sighted
from lookout towers along the coast and it was not difficult to
approach. Equally important, these whales floated at death so they could
be pulled ashore. They were prized for their oil, meat, and the baleen
which was sold throughout Europe. The Biscayan whalers gradually reduced
the local population of whales and began to range farther in their
search. They came at last upon the haunts of another right whale which
frequented the ice-filled seas of the North Atlantic. Here there was not
a satisfactory method to preserve the meat so this was thrown away.

There is an extensive and fascinating history of this early whaling but
only the briefest outline can be mentioned here. Throughout the story
there is a constant search for new whaling grounds to sustain operations
and to meet the increased demand for whaling products. As the industry
expanded it was forced to capture less desirable species because the
other species could not hold up against the onslaught.

Other nations took up whaling and soon the English and Dutch had large
fleets of ships manned by Basque whalers. These ships were based in
Greenland and Spitzenberg. The irregular coastlines of these wind-swept
lands provided many harbors in which shore whaling stations could be
situated. The camps were well constructed, and daily during the arctic
summer, the ships put out for whales in waters which were rough,
cluttered with icebergs, and shrouded in fog. Naturally, under such
difficult conditions, there was great loss of ships and men. The
companies were not friendly with one another and periodically raided the
shore camps of each other, stealing and burning supplies and buildings.
Under normal circumstances such activities would have been provocative
of war. However, since communications were poor and the countries
concerned were preoccupied with colonizing America, the situation took
care of itself, for in time the whales diminished and the whaling
companies failed.

    [Illustration: Cutting-in, from the book _Nimrod of the Sea or The
    American Whaleman_ by Wm. M. Davis. _Courtesy San Francisco Maritime
    Museum Association._]

Soon after this the colonists in America wrote to relatives in Europe
about the richness of the country, not the least of its resources being
the whales which spouted just off shore along the entire Eastern
seaboard. Whaling companies were formed and these were concentrated
along the New England coast. After the separation of the colonies from
England, whaling developed locally with the ships which had been engaged
in commerce between the colonies and the mother country. It did not take
long to exhaust the populations of whales, so the Whalers began to range

This led to the discovery of the haunts of the sperm whale in the open
oceans of the tropics and subtropics. Yankee ingenuity developed a new
kind of whaling in which the whales were brought alongside the base ship
for processing. It took a great deal of skill to strip the blanket of
fat from a whale which was three-fourths submerged and pitching and
rolling on the restless surface. The blubber once removed, was hauled
aboard and cooked in kettles to free the oil which was then placed in
barrels and stowed below. This form of whaling was called pelagic
whaling. It was not uncommon for ships to be away from home port for a
year or two before the casks were full. This whaling was dominated by
the Americans, and it contributed much to the prosperity of New England,
providing much of the capital which later financed its manufacturing
developments. This was the golden era of whaling so superbly described
by Herman Melville in _Moby Dick_. Here is a real yarn about whaling
written by a Whaler who later became a superb author.

The discovery of petroleum in Pennsylvania brought to the fore new
illuminating fuels, kerosene and natural gas which were much cheaper
than whale oil, so the whaling industry declined rapidly. This happened
at the same time steam ships were replacing sailing ships, so it is not
surprising that the beautiful sailing vessels which had been the
mainstay of whaling were brought home to every little coastal village in
New England to rot away, sad memorials to better days.

_Modern Whaling_

By the 20th century whaling was again possible because of new uses for
whaling products. Chemistry has succeeded in finding new uses for whale
oil. Fat derivatives such as soaps, margarines and a few other products
owe their abundance and low cost to the whaling industry. Packing house
technology has been applied to the butchering of whales so that the
entire animal has many uses. Tasty meats are finding their way into the
diets of many countries and the tougher, less tasty parts are ground and
used to feed cats and dogs. Farms that raise mink and other mammals for
the fur trade are heavy buyers of this source of meat to feed their
animals. The remaining parts, blood, bones, and meat scraps, are dried
and ground into nutritious meals which are used by the poultry and
livestock industries as supplementary feeds. Currently each whale
produces over $5,000 worth of products.

The heart of the processing operation is the pelagic factory ship which
is nearly as large as an aircraft carrier. They are supplied by huge
tankers which carry off the oil and by refrigerated ships which return
the meat to port. In the 20th century the United States has not
seriously participated in whaling and has not a single fleet in
competition with the other countries which now have billion dollar
investments in ships and gear. For the past 70 years, the leader in the
whaling industry has been Norway. The industry is very competitive
however, and England, Japan, Netherlands, USSR, and Germany have big

The Norwegian lead was due principally to Svend Foyn who invented the
harpoon with an explosive head. The harpoon was fired by a deck-mounted
cannon and it had sufficient range and accuracy to permit killing those
whales which heretofore were too fast and wary to be handlanced. The
harpoon head had a time delay bomb which insured that the explosion
occur deep in the vitals, and that the whale was made fast to a manila
line so that it would not be lost. The cannon is mounted in the bow of a
small fast ship known as a killer boat. These little ships operate for 1
or 2 days away from the factory ship in search of whales. The gunner who
is responsible for firing the cannon is the most important member of the
crew and on his experience and skill depend the entire operation. If he
misses or fails to kill the whale, it will alarm the other whales and a
day or two of searching may have been in vain.

    [Illustration: Whalebone drying; from the book _San Francisco
    Whaling_ by Pacific Steam Whaling Co., San Francisco. Ships in
    picture—the _J. D. Peters_ on the right and the steam whaler _Orca_
    on the left. _Courtesy San Francisco Maritime Museum Association._]

    [Illustration: Trinidad, Calif., whaling shore station; two humpback
    whales on the platform. _Courtesy San Francisco Maritime Museum

The whaling season is extremely short and as soon as the yearly quota
has been reached, all countries must stop. Naturally every country tries
to get as many whales of the total as possible. Once a whale is killed,
it is hauled alongside, and the body cavity is inflated with compressed
air to make the whale buoyant. It should be remembered that the whales
which are now being processed are the “wrong” whales and they would
otherwise sink. The whale is then flagged, lighted, and a radio
transmitter secured to it, and it is cast adrift while the killer boat
continues to search for more victims. At the end of the hunting period,
the killer boat retraces its route, picking up the whales it has killed.
These are secured to the sides of the ship and brought back to the
factory ship for processing.

Naturally, the technological improvements which make whaling profitable
again would have been meaningless without the discovery of new whaling
grounds. About 1900 the seas around the antarctic continent were found
to be teeming with whales. These were principally three species—the
humpback, the finback, and the blue. The blue whale is distinguished by
the fact that it is the largest mammal on earth, reaching sometimes 100
feet in length and weighing over 100 tons. It is the species preferred
by whalers but it is not as plentiful as its close relative, the
finback, which is the second largest species, ranging in length from 60
to 80 feet. The humpback whale has never been too abundant, but along
with the rorqual, or Sei whale, it has provided an extra dividend for
the business.

The extreme richness of the antarctic whaling grounds is due to the fact
that the entire perimeter of the continent is open to oceanic waters,
allowing whales free access to a tremendous area of fertile waters. The
limited richness of the arctic whaling grounds is due to the fact that
the Arctic Icecap is flanked principally by the land masses of Eurasia
and North America and the whales have access only to those portions
opening from the Bering Sea and to a small area in the North Atlantic.
Whales cannot swim too far in along the coast of either mainland because
the period of open water is brief. Even in the antarctic whales tend to
work near the ice floes and occasionally get caught by the sudden
closures of the ice.

It is too difficult to estimate the number of whales which were taken
from the arctic during the many seasons that whalers worked there.
However, it cannot compare with the numbers which are realized annually
from the slaughter around Antarctica. As many as 45,000 whales have been
taken in a brief whaling season of less than 2 months. Contracting
governments under provision of the International Agreement For
Regulation of Whaling enforce the regulations as regards the number
taken and there is a penalty if a juvenile whale is killed. Nursing
mothers are also protected. The regulations are made by the
International Whaling Commission and the number of whales which can be
taken each year is determined from the statistics of the populations and
these quotas are recommended by the Commission. It is hoped that by
these regulations and studies, the industry can continue to prosper. The
problems and activities of the scientists, the majority of whom work for
the various governments’ agencies, will be considered shortly.

    [Illustration: Blubber ready to process at the Moss Landing, Calif.,
    whaling shore station, photographed 1919. _Courtesy San Francisco
    Maritime Museum Association._]

                     Example of Unregulated Whaling

_California Gray Whale_

No account of whaling would be complete without mention of the shore and
lagoon whaling of the California gray whale. There were 11 shore whaling
stations scattered along the coast of California from San Simeon to San
Diego, which had two stations. This whaling dates back to the gold rush
days of California. It was not an uncommon experience for a whaling ship
to come from the east and then to lose the entire crew in San Francisco
before they could get on into the North Pacific to whale.

Although the principal profit for these whalers came from the arctic
bowhead, it was customary to return to San Francisco to resupply in the
autumn, and then to whale the California gray during the winter
migration. Of course, this was whaling made to order because there was
no need to search. The shore stations were able to process more whales
in a day than a vessel could in a month of routine searching. Captain
Scammon followed the migrating whales to the lagoons where he found them
calving. These lagoons became the headquarters for the whaling ships
which found whaling even easier than they had along the migration route.
One of these lagoons still bears Scammon’s name.

It was possible to watch the killing of whales from Point Loma, and from
this vantage point the whaling boats were directed by flag signals to
their quarry. The whales, once killed, were towed, tide permitting, by
the hard rowing of the whaling crews back to Ballast Point. The numerous
California shore stations have long since closed and rotted away and the
grounds occupied with new enterprises. Most of the details of this era
are lost, forever or buried in yellowing manuscripts and newspapers.

Although the gray whale may have been easy to find and to approach,
whalers noted that those which escaped had learned the implications of
whaling and thereafter were difficult to take. Lagoon whaling was
particularly hazardous because the mothers frequently would charge the
boats. Much of the time of the ship’s carpenter was used repairing the
damaged boats. Of course, the exposure of the breeding and calving
grounds to whaling had a catastrophic effect, for the whales soon
disappeared. It is decidedly difficult to determine from the limited
records which remain just how abundant the gray whale was before whaling
started. One is likewise puzzled by the report that a thousand a day
passed San Diego. If this estimate had been made by an experienced
whaler, it might be reliable, but if it were made by a layman, it could
be most inaccurate. It is doubtful that anyone would have actually
counted the whales for even an hour, so that the figure is probably an

The decline in the abundance of the gray whale occurred during the
period when whaling was nearly over because of the low price of oil. Two
brief subsequent attempts to whale this species produced only a small
return of individuals, leaving the species virtually extinct.

                          Gray Whale Protected

In 1937 the International Whaling Commission declared the gray whale a
protected species and forbade its members from whaling it. The
population has recovered noticeably in the past 10 years, but it is too
early to predict when it will level off. In 1959 it was estimated that
the total population was somewhere between 3 and 5 thousand. It is hoped
that the whaling nations will be content to honor their gentlemen’s
agreement to protect it until recovery is complete.

                          Value of Gray Whale


Already the whale has been viewed by hundreds of thousands of
Californians and tourists who have been thrilled to see such an animal.
Currently each season excursion boats are transporting visitors on a
2-hour excursion practically out onto the backs of the whales. It is
hoped that the pleasure which it offers man will transcend the brief
monetary profit which might accrue to a few whalers. It would indeed be
shortsighted to let commercial interests deprive man of such a unique
whale which can be enjoyed so easily by so many.


There is real need to protect the gray whale for scientific studies. The
principal problem in the study of populations of whales is to learn how
large the population is and what are the various forces which limit its
size. Such knowledge would make it possible for the industry to decide
how many whales could be taken each season without reducing the
population. The concept of taking only those whales which would
overpopulate the habitat is an attractive one, and this would be in the
long run, most profitable and stabilize both the whale population and
the industry. Such knowledge also would prevent the overexpansion of the
industry, which would also reduce the profit and hasten the decline of
the resource.

Up to now, the studies which have been made to gain this knowledge have
to be made on populations which are under severe exploitation. The
researcher can never be certain that his findings are normal and useful
in estimating the total population. The California gray whale provides
him with a control population which is not under predation by man.
Furthermore, this population becomes concentrated during breeding and
calving and briefly during migration so that counting the total
population is feasible.


There is no doubt that the whaling industry will resume the harvest of
the California gray whale once it has recovered. This is indeed
unfortunate as the species is neither abundant nor large enough to
provide much profit. Certainly history will repeat itself and the grand
spectacle of the California gray whale migration will require another
thirty or more years to repeat itself. The future status of the
California gray whale may not necessarily have the same fortunate
outcome, as the whaling industry at the present time is much more
thorough. Furthermore, competition between the various whaling nations
makes adjustment of regulations slow and cumbersome—much too slow for a
species so limited in numbers and so accessible to complete

    [Illustration: The bone pile at the Moss Landing, Calif., whaling
    shore station, photographed 1919. _Courtesy San Francisco Maritime
    Museum Association._]

Already the Russians have expressed proprietary interest because they
control the summer feeding grounds. Likewise, with the same reasoning,
the Mexicans control the breeding waters. It would appear that the
American interests, limited to two small shore stations at San
Francisco, must be content to secure those whales which will escape the
efficient Russian and Japanese fleets which could, at the most opportune
moment, secure the species before the beginning of the long migration.
At any rate, the species can only serve as an extra species in areas
where whaling is already marginal because of limited stocks. It is hoped
that eventually the whaling interest will remove the gray whale from
whaling, leaving it as a living memorial to whaling.

                      Natural Population Controls

Conservationists should remember that nature has wisely designed each
species of plant and animal with a built-in margin of safety; namely, a
surplus of young which will repopulate the species from periods of
extreme adversity. Yet these surpluses must somehow usually be
eliminated lest the species overpopulate its habitat and destroy its own
sustenance. The controls which limit the population are many and the
population existing from year to year is the statistical average of
these many controls. Diseases, predators, and other adversities are
necessary evils, which are in the final analysis blessings in disguise.
Whales, too, have their checks, although we are a long way from knowing
their relative importance.

Perhaps the most critical moment in the life of the whale is birth,
because the newborn whale must surface immediately or suffocate. Any
abnormality in the birth process or weakness on the part of the infant
may cause its loss. Inasmuch as a whale calves only every other year,
the loss of a baby is serious, and especially so because a whale
produces but a single calf. Less than one per cent of whale births are
twins which is about the same frequency as for humans. A careful
examination of the shores around the breeding lagoons reveals that a few
babies are lost at birth.

                       Current Scientific Inquiry

_Life Expectancy_

Life expectancy is another very useful statistic for population studies.
The whaling industry has no easy way of finding this out because whaling
never gives an individual whale the chance to attain old age. Perhaps we
can eventually determine life expectancy for the gray whale if it can
continue to be protected from whaling. By counting the number of babies
produced each year, and knowing the life expectancy, We might indirectly
obtain the number of whales which die before they have realized their
life expectancy. This number should represent the surplus on which
whaling could be based. A further study would be necessary to determine
what percentage of the surplus could be diverted to the whaling

_Age Determination_

The problem of aging whales is an important one, and one to which much
thought has been given. Actually, it is desirable to know at what age
sexual maturity occurs; at what age physical maturity; at what age
reproduction is no longer possible, and lastly, the age at death. In
addition, we need to know the gestation period and the average number of
pregnancies of which the female is capable. Many of these statistics can
be obtained from the examination of a freshly killed whale. Such age
determinations are made on every specimen which comes aboard the factory
ships and also at the shore stations. There is some doubt as to the
accuracy of some of these. Physical maturity is delayed in whales for
many years, and it is judged complete when the cartilaginous end plates
fuse to each vertebrum (backbone). After fusion, further lineal growth
is impossible and after this time whales have been noted to shrink
slightly each year.

The other structures which a biologist collects for aging are the
ovaries of the female whale. These are sliced across into half-inch
slabs, and the number of exposed grayish masses are counted. There is
one of these structures produced for each pregnancy, and they persist as
scar tissue throughout the life of the whale. These structures are
functional during pregnancy and nursing and are responsible for a
successful pregnancy. A count of these gives the investigator the total
number of offspring which have been produced. If one assumes that the
whale has not missed an opportunity to produce a baby, the count of
these gives the age, assuming one knows the age of sexual maturity and
the maximum length of bearing.

In recent years other structures have been tried for aging, so that
males might also be aged, as well as females past the reproductive
period. The best structure is the cylinder of wax which fills the outer
canal of the ear leading to the eardrum. This enlarges as the whale
grows, and the growth is marked by banding very similar in appearance to
tree rings. Slicing the plug, the rings can be exposed and counted.
There are produced but two rings a year. Toothed whales can be aged by
sawing the teeth in half and noting the banding. Baleen also is
periodically enlarged, but this is more difficult to check.

_Distribution and Population Rise_

The whaling industry spends a few weeks before the whaling season and at
the end, hunting whales with a much lighter gun which implants a
numbered cylinder deep in the skin of the whale. Each whale so marked is
logged as to the species and the latitude and the longitude, and lastly,
the date. Should the marked whale be processed in any succeeding season,
a second entry is completed giving the date and place of capture. These
records are used to determine the migration routes and the degree of
intermingling of adjacent populations. The ratio of marked whales to
unmarked whales allows the estimation of the probable size of the whale
population. The length of time elapsing until a marked whale is
recovered is an indication of the intensity of whaling.

Unlike the situation in the fishing industry where the reproductive
potential of the fish is more than adequate to repopulate quickly, in
the whaling industry the reproductive potential is small. Only
one-fourth of the population can contribute replacements each year, and
then only a single baby. Of course, each offspring has a reasonable
chance of reaching maturity, whereas with fish only a very small number
achieve adulthood.

One might expect that whales would be less affected by the fluctuations
in environmental conditions, but this is only a surmise. We do not know
as yet how to ascertain whether the food of whales is ever inadequate.
Certainly the fact that baleen whales do best around the polar seas
suggests that climatic fluctuations of the magnitude and duration of
those producing the ice ages, may have profound effects on them.

We can only hope that man will learn to exploit whales in such a way as
to take only the surplus and leave the main stock, creating thereby a
perpetual resource. Man can best profit esthetically and scientifically
by leaving the gray whale free of whaling as a control population.

    [Illustration: Gray whale making a deep dive. _Photograph by T. J.

    [Illustration: Gray whale spouting. _Courtesy Scripps Institute of


   Scientific names of all North American cetaceans with common names
                  most in use. Maximum size indicated.

     Region: (A) Atlantic Ocean, (P) Pacific Ocean, (C) Circumpolar

                                             _Common Name_        _Size-Region_

  Order Cetacea                         Whales, Dolphins, and
    Suborder Odontoceti                 Toothed Whales
      Family Ziphiidae                  Beaked Whales
        Genus Berardius
          _Berardius bairdii_           Baird’s Beaked Whale       42 ft.   (P)
        Genus Mesoplodon
          _Mesoplodon bidens_           Sowerby’s Beaked Whale     16 ft.   (A)
          _Mesoplodon densirostris_     Blainville’s Beaked        15 ft.   (A)
          _Mesoplodon europaeus_        Gervais’ Beaked Whale      16 ft.   (A)
          _Mesoplodon mirus_            True’s Beaked Whale        17 ft.   (A)
          _Mesoplodon stejnegeri_       Stejneger’s Beaked Whale   20 ft.   (P)
        Genus Ziphius
          _Ziphius Cavirostris_         Cuvier’s Beaked Whale      28 ft. (A-P)
        Genus Hyperoodon
          _Hyperoodon ampullatus_       Flat-headed Bottlenosed    30 ft.   (A)
      Family Physeteridae               Sperm Whales
        Genus Physeter
          _Physeter catodon_            Sperm Whale                60 ft. (A-P)
      Family Kogiidae                   Pigmy Sperm Whales
        Genus Kogia
          _Kogia breviceps_             Pigmy Sperm Whale          13 ft. (A-P)
      Family Vonodontidae               White Whale and Narwhal
        Genus Delphinapterus
          _Delphinapterus leucas_       White Whale (Beluga)       18 ft.   (C)
        Genus Monodon
          _Monodon monoceros_           Narwhal                    12 ft.   (C)
      Family Delphinidae                Dolphins and Porpoises
        Genus Stenella
          _Stenella attenuata_          Slender-beaked Porpoise     6 ft.   (P)
          _Stenella frontalis_          Cuvier’s Porpoise           6 ft.   (A)
          _Stenella graffmani_          Graffman’s Porpoise         8 ft.   (P)
          _Stenella longirostris_       Long-beaked Porpoise        7 ft.   (P)
          _Stenella microps_            Small-headed Porpoise       8 ft.   (P)
          _Stenella plagiodon_          Spotted Porpoise            7 ft.   (A)
          _Stenella styx_               Gray’s Porpoise             8 ft. (A-P)
        Genus Steno
          _Steno bredanensis_           Rough-toothed Porpoise      8 ft. (A-P)
        Genus Delphinus
          _Delphinus delphis_           Atlantic Dolphin            8 ft.   (A)
          _Delphinus bairdii_           Pacific Dolphin             7 ft.   (P)
        Genus Tursiops
          _Tursiops truncatus_          Atlantic Bottle-nosed      12 ft.   (A)
          _Tursiops gillii_             Gill’s Bottle-nosed        12 ft.   (P)
          _Tursiops nuuanu_             Pacific Bottle-nosed        7 ft.   (P)
        Genus Lissodelphis
          _Lissodelphis borealis_       Right-whale Dolphin         8 ft.   (P)
        Genus Lagenorhynchus
          _Lagenorhynchus albirostris_  White-Beaked Dolphin       10 ft.   (A)
          _Lagenorhynchus acutus_       Atlantic White-sided        9 ft.   (A)
          _Lagenorhynchus obliquidens_  Pacific White-sided         7 ft.   (P)
          _Lagenorhynchus thicolea_     Gray’s White-sided          9 ft.   (P)
        Genus Grampus
          _Grampus orca_                Atlantic Killer Whale      30 ft.   (A)
          _Grampus rectipinna_          Pacific Killer Whale       30 ft.   (P)
        Genus Grampidelphis
          _Grampidelphis Griseus_       Grampus or Risso’s         13 ft. (A-P)
        Genus Pseudorca
          _Pseudorca crassidens_        False Killer Whale         18 ft. (A-P)
        Genus Globicephala
          _Globicephala melaena_        Common Blackfish or        28 ft.   (A)
                                          (Pilot Whale)
          _Globicephala macrorhyncha_   Short-finned Blackfish     20 ft.   (A)
          _Globicephala scammonii_      Pacific Blackfish          16 ft.   (P)
        Genus Feresa
          _Feresa occulta_              Slender Blackfish           8 ft.   (P)
        Genus Phocoena
          _Phocoena phocoena_           Atlantic Harbor Porpoise    6 ft.   (A)
          _Phocoena vomerina_           Pacific Harbor Porpoise     6 ft.   (A)
        Genus Phocoenoides
          _Phocoenoides dalli_          Dall’s Porpoise             7 ft.   (P)
    Suborder Mysticeti                  Baleen Whales
      Family Eschrichtidae              Gray Whale
        Genus Eschrichtius
          _Eschrichtius glaucus_        California Gray Whale      50 ft.   (P)
      Family Balaenopteridae            Fin-backed Whales
        Genus Balaenoptera
          _Balaenoptera physalus_       Fin-backed Whale           81 ft. (A-P)
          _Balaenoptera borealis_       Rorqual (Sei Whale)        60 ft. (A-P)
          _Balaenoptera acutorostrata_  Little Piked Whale         33 ft. (A-P)
        Genus Sibbaldus
          _Sibbaldus musculus_          Blue (Sulphur-bottom)     100 ft. (A-P)
        Genus Megaptera
          _Megaptera novaeangliae_      Hump-backed Whale          50 ft. (A-P)
      Family Balaenidae                 Right and Bowhead Whales
        Genus Eubalaena
          _Eubalaena glacialis_         Atlantic Right Whale       70 ft.   (A)
          _Eubalaena sieboldii_         Pacific Right Whale        65 ft.   (P)
        Genus Balaena
          _Balaena mysticetus_          Bowhead Whale              65 ft.   (C)

                          Transcriber’s Notes

—Retained publication information from the printed edition: this eBook
  is public-domain in the country of publication.

—Silently corrected a few palpable typos.

—In the text versions only, text in italics is delimited by

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Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.