Cetaceans are divided into two suborders, or main groups:
Usage of the names whale, dolphin, and porpoise can be confusing. As the above classification indicates, all cetaceans can correctly be called whales; specifically, all dolphins and porpoises can be called toothed whales. However, it is common practise to call any cetacean that as an adult can reach more than about 9 feet in length a whale, and anything smaller than this a dolphin or a porpoise. Dolphins and porpoises can be distinguished in four ways:
For more on some specific types of whale, see:
Cetacean intelligenceCetaceans have long been noted for their intelligent and sometimes apparently compassionate behavior (see dolphins as a form of alien intelligence). More recently, it has become clear that they produce an extraordinary variety of complex vocalizations across a wide frequency range, which in addition to uses such as echo-location and mating rituals, may serve as a sophisticated form of communication (see songs of humpback whales).
"By 2100 A.D. on Earth, three species of cetacean had been recognized as intelligent and admitted to the United Nations. Their lawsuit against the former whaling nations had not been resolved, and in fact never was. The cetaceans enjoyed the legal gymnastics too much ever to end it."
Related categories• ZOOLOGY
• NON-HUMAN INTELLIGENCE
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