Behavior of Marine Animals

pp 227-289

Social Organization in Sperm Whales, Physeter macrocephalus

  • Peter B. BestAffiliated with

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The cows with their young give from nothing up to 35 barrels, and seem to go in schools together, and we frequently see from twenty-five to fifty and sometimes one hundred or more in a school, with occasionally a large bull among them, and at times, though seldom, we find all sizes together. The male or bull whales seem to separate from the cows and calves when about the size of 35 barrels, as we seldom get them in the schools of the mother and its young to make more oil than that, and we find the young bulls in pods or schools beyond that size; we find them in what we call 40-barrel bulls, where they generally go in larger numbers than they do as they increase in size; we find them again in smaller schools of about the size of 50 barrels, and again about 60 barrels, where we sometimes see eight or ten together, and 70 barrels four or five, and beyond that one, two, and three....