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Killer whales are not really whales, are they?



NOAA / Robert Pittman

Answer: Dolphins

If you have ever stopped studying the profile of a killer whale – and if not, now is the perfect time to look at the picture here – think a little You may have noticed that the killer whale looks more than a bit of a fat dolphin. That's because killer whales are not whales, but fat dolphins. Despite their name and size, killer whales are members of the Delphinidae or the family of oceanic dolphins.

Part of the Cetacea Order, the overarching classification that includes marine mammals known as dolphins, whales and harbor porpoises, the Delphinidae family is most variant-rich. The family includes thirty species, including bottlenose dolphins (and the rest of the dolphins like the dark dolphin), narwhals and porpoises, as well as a number of "whales" such as the killer whale, the melon whale and the false killer whale, two types of pilot whales and whales the pigmy whale. Despite the name of the last, the smallest member of the family is the Maui Dolphin (about 3.9 meters long and 88 pounds). The biggest topic of today's question is the killer whale (at 30 feet and 20,000 pounds).


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