The Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) is a mammal which belongs to the baleen whale suborder. It is a large whale: an adult usually ranges between 12–16 m long and weighs approximately 36 tonnes. It is well known for its breaching (leaping out of the water), its unusually long front fins, and its complex whale song. The Humpback Whale lives in oceans and seas around the world, and is regularly sought out by whale-watchers.Physical description
Humpback Whales can easily be identified by their stocky bodies with obvious humps and black upper parts. The head and lower jaw are covered with knobs called tubercles, which are actually hair follicles and are characteristic of the species. The tail flukes, which are lifted high in the dive sequence, have wavy rear edges.














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The long (up to a third of body length) black and white tail fin and pectoral fins have unique patterns, which enable individual whales to be recognised, in a similar way to the bill markings on Bewick's Swans. Several hypotheses have been suggested to explain the evolution of the Humpback's pectoral fins, proportionally the longest fins of any cetacean. The two most enduring hypotheses are that the higher maneuverability afforded by long fins is a significant evolutionary advantage, or that the increased surface is useful for temperature control when migrating between warm and cold climates.

Images 1 Though 6 Are Courtesy of the U.S.D.A.
Images 7 Through 18 Are From The N.O.A.A.











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