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ALL ABOUT WHALES!
What is a Whale? Whale Information Sheets Anatomy and Behavior Extreme Whales Whale Myths Whale Evolution Whale Classification Whale Glossary Whale Activities Whale Index
Whale Glossary
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U-Z

A

Aetiocetus

Aetiocetus was the earliest-known baleen whale. Aetiocetus still had all its teeth, but it also had a loose jaw hinge like later baleen whales.

Amazon River Dolphin

The Amazon River Dolphin, (Inia geoffrensis) is also known as the boto, pink dolphin, and pink porpoise; it is the largest river dolphin. The boto has a long, toothed snout, a humped back (and no dorsal fin), a flexible neck, and pink, off-white, or bluish-gray skin. The shape of the melon is changeable. It is from 6-8 1/4 ft (1.8-2.5 m) long and weighs from 185-355 pounds (85-160 kg). This carnivore eats fish and crabs. This South American cetacean lives in the Amazon River and Orinoco Rivers (and their tributaries) in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Guyana, and Brazil.

Ambergris

Ambergris is a waxy substance produced by sperm whales' intestines. It is sometimes found floating on the oceans. It may be used to protect the whales from the sharp beaks of the giant squid that they eat. People used ambergris in making perfumes.

Ambulocetus

Ambulocetus natans (meaning "walking whale that swims") is an extinct mammal the size of a sea lion, 10 feet (3 m) long and about 650 pounds. Its limbs allowed it to swim and could also support it on land. It had long, powerful jaws with shark-like teeth, a small brain, and a pelvis fused to its backbone (like land-dwelling mammals but unlike whales). It may have been an ancestor of the whales - it may have evolved from animals like Mesonychid. Ambulocetus was found (in 1993) and named (in 1994) by Hans Thewissen in Pakistan.


Ammonite

Ammonite was an early mollusk, a fast-moving predatory marine invertebrate.


Amniote

Amniotes are animals whose eggs contain an amnion, a membrane that surrounds the embryo and helps retain fluids. Mammals (including whales), birds, dinosaurs, turtles, and lizards are amniotes.

Amphibian

Amphibians (meaning "double life") are vertebrate animals that live in the water during their early life (breathing through gills), but usually live on land as adults (and breathe with lungs). They include frogs, toads, newts, salamanders, etc.

Amphipods

Amphipods (meaning "double life") are tiny shrimp-like crustaceans that live in the water. They are marine invertebrates under an inch long that have an exoskeleton and jointed legs. They are eaten in huge numbers by baleen whales.


Anapsid

Anapsids include the turtles and their extinct kin. They are distinguished by having no holes in the sides of their skulls.

Antarctica

Antarctica is an icy continent around the South Pole.

Anterior

Anterior means located on or near the front of an animal's body.


Archaeocete

(pronounced AHR-kee-oh-SEAT) Archaeocetes (meaning "ancient whales") are early whales - whales that lived during the Eocene period (roughly 55-34 million years ago) . Some archaeocetes include Pakicetus, Ambulocetus, Basilosaurus, Remingtonocetus, Dorudon, and other early whales, some of which had hind limbs.


Architeuthis

The giant squid (Architeuthis) is the largest squid and the largest invertebrate (animal without a backbone), but it is rarely (f ever) seen since it lives very deep in the oceans. The largest-known Architeuthis was 57 feet (17.5 m) long. Its eyes are as large as basketballs! It has eight arms, two longer feeding tentacles, a beak, a large head, and two large eyes. These soft-bodied cephalopods are fast-moving carnivores that catch prey with their tentacles, then poison it with a bite from beak-like jaws. They move by squirting water through a siphon, a type of jet propulsion. Only dead examples of Architeuthis have been found. Its only enemy is the sperm whale who hunts it deep in the ocean.

Arctic

The Arctic is the area around the North Pole. There is no land under the arctic ice.

Arthropods

Arthropods are a group of animals with exoskeletons made of chitin, segmented bodies and jointed limbs. Insects, arachnids, trilobites, crustaceans (like amphipods, krill and copepods), and others are arthropods.

Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin

These are small cetaceans that have a long, beaklike snout, a falcate (sickle-shaped) dorsal fin, and conical teeth. They are Odontoceti (toothed whales).

Atom

Everything is made up of tiny atoms. An atom is the smallest part of an element that has the properties of that element.

Autotroph

(pronounced AW-toh-trofe) An autotroph (or producer) is an organism that makes its own food from light energy or chemical energy (inorganic matter) without eating. Most green plants, many protists (one-celled organisms like slime molds) and most bacteria are autotrophs. Autotrophs are the base of the food chain.

Zoom Whales
Whale Glossary
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U-Z

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