Hairs? on a whale?

I was a bit surprised to find out that whales have hair!

Cath Kemper said:

‘Most whales and dolphins are born with a few hairs on their face. Most will lose these hairs within weeks of birth but some species, such as humpbacks and maybe pygmy right whales, retain them as adults.’

12 Responses

  1. Clara Lindinha

    I like this website very much, Its a real nice place to read and get info .

  2. Science guy!

    Whales and dolphins are mammals. All mammals have hair. Therefore, whales and dolphins have hair.

  3. xJohann2027

    I like this web. Yes,i like it 😉 Thanx. Johann2027

  4. janekeig

    Thanks Cathy, it was really fun to be a part of it

  5. janekeig

    Hi MMarx

    You are quite right as Dr Catherine Kemper noted under my post. I am a lay person and it fascinated me to know that they had hair!
    Thanks for the fin whale info – there is so much to learn!!!

  6. MMarx

    Lots of whales have hairs. For example, North Atlantic right whales (of all age classes) have it on the front of their chins and upper lips, humpbacks have a single hair in the tubercles on the rostrum and chin, fin whales have a line of hairs running along the mandible; the hairs on the right (dark side) are dark, and hairs on the left (light side) are white.

  7. janekeig

    oops…I should have told you that balaena mysticetus is the Bowhead whale.

    I should have also used a lower case “m” for the species name for the pygmy right whale Caperea marginata (this should also be in italics) Hope that helps!


  8. janekeig

    This is Anton reporting on Jane’s blog. The name pygmy right whale is the common name that has be given to this species. As we have said before they are not really related closely to right whales which are in a separate family. there are number of species of whale that have been given common names that include the word “Pygmy”…such as Pygmy Sperm whales and Pygmy Killer whales. With Pygmy sperm whales for example they belong in the family Kogiidae, that also includes another small whale, the Dwarf sperm whale, these are not large animals, they are known collectively as the diminutive sperm whales. These species are found in both the southern hemisphere and the northern hemisphere. The Great sperm whale is in a separate family the Physeteridae.

    Common names are not used to arrange species into different groups, for that we use the Scientific names. So for instance we can see the relationship from the name of the Pygmy and Dwarf sperm whales as they belong not only in the same family but also in the same Genus….so we have Kogia breviceps (pygmy sperm whale) and Kogia sima (dwarf sperm whale) where the first part of the name is the Genus and the second part of the name is the species.

    So with Pygmy right whales they belong to the family Neobalaenidae, the genus Caperea and the species Marginata. Right whales belong in the family Balaenidae and there are a two genera (the plural of genus) in that family, Balaena and Eubalaena….these can then be divided further into species, so Balaena mysticetus where as there are a number of Eubalaena, the northern atlantic right whale Eublaena glacialis, the north pacific right whale Eubalaena japonica, and the southern right whale Eubalaena australis.

    Okay I hope that helps let me know if you need clarification.


  9. janekeig

    Hi Jives

    Pygmy right whales are in a family of their own. They were called pygmy right whales because their heads resemble the larger right whales. In all other ways they are different!
    Anton, Te Papa’s whale specialist, is going to fill you in a bit more about this soon.:-)


  10. Jives

    So how do these whales compare to northern right whales?

    Are there pygmy species of northern hemisphere whales as well?

  11. janekeig

    LOL 😉

  12. emmabest

    So when do they start shaving?


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