Balaenidae – Right & bowhead whales
Distinguished from other whales by arched upper jaws in their exceptionally large heads
The name ‘right whale’ has a tragic origin. Due to their docile nature, slow swimming speed, and large size, they were called the ‘right’ whale to kill by whalers. Consequently, the North Atlantic and North Pacific right whales are the most endangered on the planet.
The Bowhead whale flourishes in Arctic water and is named based on its massive, triangular skull, which makes up a third of its body length. This whale uses its skull to crack open the arctic ice to breathe. These whales are likened to jazz musicians because their songs display such variation and complexity and are sung for hours, if not days!