Pygmy right whale

The smallest baleen whale

The only cetotheriid is a mysterious living fossil.

Despite their name, they have more in common with grey whales than right whales. These mini-whales are rarely sighted in the wild and were even considered extinct until 2012!

They are dark grey on the dorsal side and lighter grey on the ventral side. Still, they are often mistaken for Minke whales because they have a pair of chevron-shaped lighter patches behind the eyes, just like the Minke whales.

The research done by paleontologist Felix Marx in 2012 compared the skull bones of Pygmy right whales with those of extinct cetaceans and found that they are a close relative to the extinct Cetotheriidae. This means the Pygmy right whale is a living fossil. How cool is that?

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Indian ocean
2018
Pacific ocean
2018
Atlantic Ocean
2018
Antarctic ocean
2018
Argentina
2018
Australia
2018
Chile
2018
Falkland Islands
2018
Malvinas
French Southern T.
2018
Presence Uncertain
Namibia
2018
New Zealand
2018
South Africa
2018

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd / Group

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No