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|Right whales (Eubalaena spp.) are baleen whales (Suborder Mysticeti).
Kingdom Animalia (animals)
Phylum Chordata (vertebrates)
Class Mammalia (mammals)
Order Cetacea (whales and dolphins)
Suborder Mysticeti (baleen whales)
The number of species of right whales is in dispute; most biologists believe there are two species, Eubalaena glacialis, the northern right whale, and Eubalaena australis, the southern species. Some believe that right whales from the north Pacific should be considered a third species, Eubalaena japonica. The right whales are probably an example of a species that is in the process of diverging into separate species after prolonged separation across the globe.
Right whales may have a life expectancy of over 60 years, although this figure is not at all certain (very little is known about these whales).
Northern right whales are near extinction due to past hunting pressures and are an endangered species; it is estimated that there are 500-1,000 northern right whales alive and they are near extinction. The southern whales are more abundant (there are perhaps 3,000 alive) but are vulnerable to extinction and are also an endangered species.
(and other cetaceans)
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