Right Whales

Quentin R. Walsh

in The Whaling Expedition of the Ulysses 1937–38

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780813034799
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813039688 | DOI:
Right Whales

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The right whale is one of the Mystacoceti or whalebone whales, having no teeth. The term right whale is believed to have descended to the present time from ancient whaling, when this animal was deemed the “right” type or best kind of whale to be obtained. Its products were considered superior and its characteristics offered more inducements for the old whalers to attack than did the other baleen species. Because of the simple equipment used and the primitive methods employed in hunting, the whale attacked could not be too large and had to float when dead. The right whale possessed these characteristics. The whalebone is finer in this species and longer than in other species; the animal is a good oil producer for its size, attaining a length of forty to fifty feet at maturity; and most important from the viewpoint of old-time whalers, it floated when dead.

Keywords: right whale; Mystacoceti; whalebone; baleen species; hunting

Chapter.  3293 words. 

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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