The Blue Whale is the largest mammal/animal to have ever lived. The Blue Whales scientific name is Balaenoptera musculus. Blue Whales were abundant in nearly all oceans until the beginning of the twentieth century. For over 40 years they were hunted almost to extinction by whalers until protected by the international community in 1966. A 2002 report estimated there were 5,000 to 12,000 Blue Whales worldwide.The life span of a blue whale is about 30 years.
These enormous mammals eat tiny organisms, like plankton and krill, which they sieve through baleen. They live in pods (small groups). These gray-blue whales have 2 blowholes and a 2-14 inch (5-30 cm) thick layer of blubber.
Blue whales are rorqual whales, whales that have pleated throat grooves that allow their throat to expand during the huge intake of water during filter feeding. Blue whales have 50-70 throat grooves that run from the throat to mid-body.
This giant animal is placid and shy. On the ocean surface, its normal cruising speed is about 12 knots, but it is capable of attaining 20 knots in short bursts. The maximum reported depth reached by the species is 194 fathoms. It is capable of remaining submerged beneath the surface for 50 minutes, although 10 to 15 minutes is more typical.