The right whales (Eubalaena spp.), also known as the black whales are baleen whales with bow-shaped lower jaw and a head that is up to one-quarter of the body length. The head is hairier than most whales; up to 300 hairs are found on the tip of the lower jaw and 100 are on the upper jaw. There are also callosities (a series of horny growths) behind the blowhole, on the chin, above the eyes, on the lower lip, and on the rostrum (the beak-like upper jaw).
Temporal range: Miocene–recent
|Southern right whale breaching|
|Size compared to an average human|
E. glacialis ranges
E. australis range
E. japonica range
Right whales are similar to bowhead whales, but smaller. These whales are rich in blubber and have 2 blowholes. The eyes are very small and lips are large. Right whales were named by whalers who considered them the "right" whales to hunt, since they were rich in blubber, they were easy to catch (they are relatively slow swimmers) and they floated after being killed.
Hunters needed the right whale's blubber for meat, because blubber could be boiled to make oil. The right whale's name came from hunters, who thought that they were the "right" whales to hunt. This was because they had lots of blubber. They were also easy to catch (because they were relatively slow swimmers) and they floated on the surface of the water after being killed. Because of these things, right whales are the most endangered of the great whales.
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