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Monday, March 29, 2010

Where did the sperm whale get its name?


Search
: sperm whale name

Why: On FuckYeahAlbuquerque:
Answer: A fluid that comes out of its head!
The head of the sperm whale contains a huge bony container that is filled with a white viscous liquid composed of oil and a white waxy substance called spermaceti ("sperm of whale" in Latin, cetus being Latin for "whale"). Early on people thought the spermaceti was the whale's sperm, no doubt from its appearance, and the name stuck even after people knew better.
Also:
I'm not sure there's agreement even today on what the whale DOES do with the stuff, though. Last I heard the idea was the whale focussed sound waves through it to stun its prey, which explains how the young whales can eat, since they supposedly don't grow any teeth until they're ten years old.
Source: Ask a Scientist

The More You Know: Also:
Spermaceti is the semi-liquid, waxy substance found in the spermaceti organ or case in front of and above the skull bone and also in the junk, the area below the spermaceti organ and just above the upper jaw
It keeps spermaceti in its junk, lol.
Also:
The sperm whale is also known as the cachalot, which is thought to derive from the archaic French for "tooth" or "big teeth"
but not catchalot, mirite, Ahab?

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