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orca, taxonomy, whales -

Orca names and classification tend to show up in comments frequently on social media and mentioned during whale watch tours. One thing I see often is “Orcas actually aren’t whales, they’re dolphins!” Fact of the matter is, they are BOTH!  Orcas are the largest member of the family delphinidae (oceanic dolphins), which is under the infraorder odontoceti, therefore all dolphins are toothed whales. All dolphins are whales, but not all whales are dolphins! And for the name part... some people don’t like the name “killer” whale. The name comes from fishermen that first witnessed them preying on whales, and called...

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