Marine Mammals

Marine Mammals

Marine mammals rely on the ocean for their existence. Some, such as whales and dolphins, are completely dependent on the ocean. The largest marine mammal is the blue whale.

About Marine Mammals

Marine mammals, which include seals, whales, dolphins, and walruses, form a diverse group of 128 species that rely on the ocean for their existence. They do not represent a distinct biological grouping, but rather are unified by their reliance on the marine environment for feeding. The level of dependence on the marine environment for existence varies considerably with species. For example, dolphins and whales are completely dependent on the marine environment for all stages of their life, whereas seals feed in the ocean, but breed on land. Marine mammals can be subdivided into four recognised groups; cetaceans (whales, dolphins, porpoises and narwhal), pinnipeds (seals, sea lions and walruses), sirenians (manatees and dugongs), and fissipeds, which are the group of carnivores with separate digits (the polar bear, and two species of otter). Both cetaceans and sirenians are fully aquatic and therefore are obligate ocean dwellers.

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