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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

For those who think humans don't have any considerable impact on the environment, consider that of the 11 known species of baleen whales, nine are officially endangered with population numbers that are just a small fraction of what they were 100 years ago. This is due exclusively to their popularity with commercial whalers in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

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Today's Random Fact:

There are two suborders of whales to which all species of whales belong: toothed whales and baleen whales. Toothed whales include sperm, killer, and beluga whales, and they prey on large fish in deep waters as their main source of food. Baleen whales include blue and humpback whales, and they are filter feeders that feed on small organisms such as krill and plankton by straining large amounts of sea water through a comb-like structure in their mouth called a baleen.

Bonus Fact:

While ancient fishermen used the meat of whales for food, in the modern era whales were primarily hunted for oil and whalebone, a term used for the baleen. Whalebone was used to make corsets, umbrella ribs, handles, and brushes, while the oil was used for cooking, candle wax and, much later, making margarine.

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