Scientific Analysis of Killer Whales Essay

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Scientific Analysis of Killer Whales

Scientific Classification:

Order & Genus. The scientific order of all types of whales is Cetacea. This large order is broken down into three further groups as well: the toothed whales or Odontoceti, which includes killer whales, dolphins, porpoises, beluga whales, and sperm whales, the baleen whales or Mysticeti, which include blue whales, humpback whales, gray whales, and right whales, and the Archaeoceti order, which are all now extinct. The genus of these species is Orcinus orca.

Family. The killer whale is the largest in its family of delphinid. Bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins, and Pacific white-sided dolphins are included in this group as well. The scientific name for this family is
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The population can be distinguished because killer whales travel in pods, or groups. The resident pods can vary from as few as five to as many as fifty whales. The transient pod size varies from one and seven individuals.
Physical Characteristics:
Size. Male killer whales average about twenty-two to twenty-seven feet and usually weigh between 8,000 and 12,000 pounds. The largest male ever recorded was thirty-two feet and weighed about 21,000 pounds. As a male approaches adulthood, it acquires the typical male characteristics: it gains weight, and its pectoral flippers, dorsal fin, and flukes grow larger than those of females. Female killer whales average about seventeen to twenty-four feet and usually weigh between 3,000 and 8,000 pounds. The largest female recorded was twenty-eight feet and weight about 15,000 pounds.
Body Shape. The killer whale has a sleek, streamlined body. Its physical characteristics are adapted for life in an aquatic environment.
Coloration. Killer whales are easily recognized by their distinct coloration. The dorsal surface and pectoral flippers are black, except for the area below and behind the dorsal fin. The ventral surface, lower jaw, and undersides of the tail flukes are mostly white and the undersides of the tail fluke are lined with black. A white "eyespot" is located just above and slightly behind each eye and a gray saddle is located behind the dorsal fin. The distinctive coloration of

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