If you've ever heard someone mention a sperm whale — or you've been lucky enough to see one in person — one of the first things that probably crossed your mind was, "Why are they called sperm whales? According to James Stewart, education supervisor for the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California, they get that name because of the spermaceti organ in their heads. But what in the world is a spermaceti organ? The waxy liquid was considered a prized material during the era of Western and European whaling, and spermaceti, as well as blubber, was turned into numerous industrial products. Spermaceti meaning "seed of the whale" also was thought to resemble semen by early whalers after it was extracted from the head.
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Sperm whale - Whale & Dolphin Conservation Australia
Sperm whales are the largest of the toothed whales and have one of the widest global distributions of any marine mammal species. They are found in all deep oceans, from the equator to the edge of the pack ice in the Arctic and Antarctic. They are named after the waxy substance, spermaceti, found in their heads. Spermaceti was used in oil lamps, lubricants, and candles. Sperm whales were a primary target of the commercial whaling industry from to
9 Enormous Facts About Sperm Whales, Gigantic Creatures of the Sea
Cetaceans from Latin : cetus , lit. Key characteristics are their fully aquatic lifestyle, streamlined body shape, often large size and exclusively carnivorous diet. They propel themselves through the water with powerful up-and-down movement of their tail which ends in a paddle-like fluke, using their flipper shaped forelimbs to maneuver.
The body of a 40ft 12m long sperm whale which washed up on a beach in East Yorkshire has been removed. Contractors used specialist equipment to remove the whale before taking it to a rendering plant for disposal. Four other dead whales remain on the beach on a remote stretch of shoreline owned by the Crown Estates. Two washed back out to sea.