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Sperm whalePhyseter catodonalso called cachalotthe largest of the toothed whaleseasily recognized by its enormous square head and narrow lower jaw. The sperm whale is dark blue-gray or brownish, with white patches on the belly. It is thickset and has small paddlelike flippers and a series of rounded humps on its back.

Males attain a maximum length of Sperm whales and spearmint rhinos 19 metres 62 feet and females about 12 metres 39 feet. Sperm whales are deep divers, commonly reaching a depth of about metres 1, feetand have been found tangled in cables more than 1, metres 3, feet below the Sperm whales and spearmint rhinos. It is not uncommon for sperm whales to dive for an hour or more and then spend about 10 minutes at the surface breathing once every 10 seconds.

They can cruise at a speed of 4 knots 7. These cetaceans are found in temperate and tropical waters throughout the world, usually in pods Sperm whales and spearmint rhinos of about 15 to 20; solitary males, however, may wander into colder regions.

Sperm whales attain sexual maturity at 7 to 13 years of age and physical maturity at 25 to 45 years Indian women vagina fucking video have been recorded to live as long as 62 years.

They feed primarily on cephalopodsincluding the giant squid Architeuthis dux. Weight figures are usually estimates, but in a pair of stranded male sperm whales were measured intact in the Netherlands: one was 16 metres The sperm whale is the most evolutionarily modified of the toothed whales. The head constitutes one-third of the Sperm whales and spearmint rhinos body length and, it is estimated, greater than a third of the body weight.

The lower jaw is usually equipped with 36 to 50 large conical teeth; the upper jaw holds a variable number of vestigial teeth that do not erupt. The head features an elaborately developed nose and upper lip where the fluid-filled spermaceti organ which whalers called the case is located; sperm oil and spermaceti were extracted from this fluid for lighting and lubrication.

The spermaceti organ is unique to sperm whales. The function of the spermaceti organ has not yet been conclusively demonstrated. Suggestions of its role pertain mostly to diving. It may close the nasal passages, act as a force pump for the bony nares, or serve in part as a hydrostatic organ by squeezing oil to one end or the other through contractions of its muscular sheath. Other theories suggest that it assists in the evacuation of the lungs prior to a deep Sperm whales and spearmint rhinos, absorbs nitrogen at extreme underwater pressure, or acts as a buoyancy regulator to assist the whale while descending and ascending from deep dives.

The spermaceti organ may serve these suggested purposes singly or in combination. It could even be a reverberation chamber used by Sperm whales and spearmint rhinos sperm whale in producing its unique pulsed signals, which are used for echolocation and communication.

Sperm whales were once commercially valuable and were hunted for several centuries. The pygmy and dwarf sperm whales Kogia breviceps and K. These little-known dolphinlike whales are gray above and white below, and they are quite small—about 2. They are distributed worldwide in offshore waters from equatorial to temperate regions and have no commercial value. The family Physeteridae diverged from the rest of Sperm whales and spearmint rhinos toothed whales suborder Odontoceti very early.

Large sperm whales with all of the characteristics of present-day sperm whales lived 20 million years ago during the Early Miocene Epoch This early divergence makes conclusions about sperm whale relationships provisional. Sperm whale. Article Media. Info Print Cite. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. Sperm whale mammal. See Article History. Alternative Titles: Physeter catodon, cachalot. Britannica Demystified. The sperm whale is one of the largest living animals, but how did this magnificent mammal receive its curious name?

Facts Matter. Start Your Free Trial Today. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. Flippers help to steer, while the back muscles, which are very large, drive the tail to propel the animal. Cetaceans have developed horizontal flukes that increase the propulsion area driven by the back muscles.

Like fish, almost all cetaceans possess a dorsal fin…. History at your fingertips. Sign Sperm whales and spearmint rhinos here to see what happened On This Dayevery day in your inbox! By signing up, you agree to our Privacy Notice. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. More About.


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