Mammal Description The sperm whale, also called a cachalot, made its biggest public splash in the guise of Moby Dick. The whale is generally gray with wrinkled, prune-like skin covering a torpedo-shaped body. The blunt head of the sperm whale accounts for a third of its body length, and much of it is filled with a waxy, oily substance called spermaceti that lies above and in front of the skull. This substance once was used for fine lubrication and for fueling lamps. Whales are mammals, which means the sperm whale has lungs and breathes air. It inhales and exhales through a blowhole located toward the front of the head.
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A similar size is reported from a jawbone from the British Natural History Museum. A 20m specimen is reported from a Soviet whaling fleet near the Kuril Islands in The sperm whale's distinctive shape comes from its very large, block-shaped head, which can be one-quarter to one-third of the animal's length. The S-shaped blowhole is located very close to the front of the head and shifted to the whale's left. The sperm whale's flukes tail lobes are triangular and very thick. Proportionally, they are larger than that of any other cetacean, and are very flexible. The largest ridge was called the 'hump' by whalers, and can be mistaken for a dorsal fin because of its shape and size.
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Sperm Whale Description The sperm whale is the largest toothed whale. Males reach 60 feet 17 m in length and the smaller females are 37 feet 12 m. They are dark gray in color, have a hump rather than a dorsal fin, and usually display their tail flukes when they dive.