baleen whale

noun

Definition of baleen whale 

: any of a suborder (Mysticeti) of usually large whales typically of colder waters that lack teeth but have baleen plates in the upper jaw which are used to filter chiefly small crustaceans (such as krill) out of large quantities of seawater — see fin whale, gray whale, humpback whale, right whale, rorqual — compare toothed whale

Examples of baleen whale in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

In the popular 2003 animated film Finding Nemo, two fish gulped down by a baleen whale escape when the whale shoots them out on a jet of water. Claire Eamer, Smithsonian, "How Children’s Books Reveal Our Evolving Relationship With Whales," 27 Mar. 2018 Other filter-feeding baleen whales like blue, fin and minke whales produce much simpler songs that are more or less the same every year. Will Dunham, Anchorage Daily News, "Arctic jazz: Bowhead whales have an amazingly diverse songbook," 4 Apr. 2018 In 1984, a 40-ton baleen whale arrived in the port of Dundalk, having caught on the bow of a cargo ship. Christina Tkacik, baltimoresun.com, "That time a whale showed up in Baltimore's harbor," 29 May 2018 Until recently, scientists have known very little about precisely when the first baleen whales evolved. National Geographic, "Prehistoric Toothless Whale Among Oldest of Its Kind," 19 Apr. 2018 All are baleen whales, possessing a mouth full of comb-like plates, rather than teeth. Kathryn Miles, BostonGlobe.com, "Can anyone save the North Atlantic right whale?," 11 Apr. 2018 Rather, the broad, bespeckled animal is a filter feeder, harvesting plankton and small fish from the water simply by swimming about with its mouth agape—much like baleen whales. Ryan P. Smith, Smithsonian, "What the Longest Known Whale Shark Migration Ever Tells Us About Conservation," 8 May 2018 For years, scientists have disagreed about which species of baleen whale came first, and how the toothless species were related. Karen Weintraub, New York Times, "Baleen Whales Intermingled as They Evolved, and Share DNA With Distant Cousins," 4 Apr. 2018 There was also evidence of a previously unknown species of fossilized baleen whale. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "New species among rare treasure trove of fossils found in California," 20 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'baleen whale.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of baleen whale

1874, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for baleen whale

Last Updated

2 Sep 2018

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The first known use of baleen whale was in 1874

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