1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Humpback Whale

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HUMPBACK WHALE (Megaptera longimana or M. böops), the representative of a genus of whalebone whales distinguished by the great length of the flippers. This whale (or a closely allied species) is found in nearly all seas; and when full-grown may reach from 45 ft. to 50 ft. in length, the flippers which are indented along their edges measuring from 10 ft. to 12 ft. or more. The general colour is black, but there are often white markings on the under surface; and the flippers may be entirely white, or parti-coloured like the body. Deep longitudinal furrows, folds or plaits occur on the throat and chest. It is said that the popular name refers to a prominence on which the back fin is set; but this “hump” varies greatly in size in different individuals. The humpback is a coast-whale, irregular in its movements, sometimes found in “schools,” at others singly. The whalebone is short, broad and coarse; but the yield of oil from a single whale has been as much as 75 barrels. A few examples of this whale have been taken in Scotland and the north of England (see Cetacea).

Humpback Whale (Megaptera longimana or böops).