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Whale is the common name for various marine mammals of the order Cetacea. All cetaceans have forelimbs modified as fins, a tail with horizontal flukes, and nasal openings (blowholes) on top of the head.
These marine mammals range in size from the blue, the largest animal known to have ever existed (at 30 m (98 ft) and 180 tonnes), to various pygmy species. For example, the pygmy sperm measures only 3.5 m (11 ft).
Wide ranging, these marine mammals inhabit all the world’s oceans. For this reason, they number in the millions. Annual population growth rates depend on the species. However, experts believe most species are expanding at a rate of 3% to 13% per year.