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Though not as flexible or agile as seals, cetaceans can swim very quickly, with the killer whale able to travel at 56 kilometres per hour (35 mph) in short bursts and the fin whale able to cruise at 48 kilometres per hour (30 mph).Dolphins are able to make very tight turns while swimming at high speeds.
Cetaceans have been depicted in various cultures worldwide.Cetaceans belong to the order Cetartiodactyla (formed by combining Cetacea Artiodactyla) and their closest living relatives are hippopotamuses and other hoofed mammals (camels, pigs, and ruminants), having diverged about 50 million years ago.Cetaceans range in size from the 1 m (3 ft 3 in) and 50 kg (110 lb) Maui's dolphin to the 29.9 m (98 ft) and 173,000 kg (381,000 lb) blue whale, which is also the largest animal ever known to have existed. They have streamlined bodies and two (external) limbs that are modified into flippers.Most mysticetes prefer the food-rich colder waters of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, migrating to the Equator to give birth.During this process, they are capable of fasting for several months, relying on their fat reserves.The bristles filter krill and other small invertebrates from seawater. Rorqual family (balaenopterids) use throat pleats to expand their mouths to take in food and sieve out the water.
Balaenids (right whales and bowhead whales) have massive heads that can make up 40% of their body mass.
Some species are well adapted for diving to great depths.
Although cetaceans are widespread, most species prefer the colder waters of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
Mothers of some species fast and nurse their young for a relatively short period of time, which is more typical of baleen whales as their main food source (invertebrates) aren't found in their breeding and calving grounds (tropics).
Cetaceans produce a number of vocalizations, notably the clicks and whistles of dolphins and the moaning songs of the humpback whale.
A few, such as the killer whale, feed on mammals, such as pinnipeds and other whales.