Sep 19, 2008

False Name

Sherry sent along this cetacean in just the nick of time. We need to recover from all the spider posts. Though not strictly ugly, we still want to carve out a home here for this marine mammal.

You're looking at a False Killer Whale. Sherry takes umbrage with this name. What a bummer for the whale! I can only imagine that it was waiting with baited breath (stinking of squid and fish) to find out what common name man had given it, and was thoroughly disappointed when it found out. Even its Latin name, Pseudoorca crassidens, hints at fakery. I doubt the whale set out with any intentions of being a fake anything when first it entered the biosphere.

Crassidens means 'stout tooth' in Latin. Why not call it the Stout Tooth Whale? Or, I like Sherry's suggestion: Grim Reaper Whale (to continue with the 'killer' theme).

Photo source: Stefan Thiesen Buntrabe

The next time you're in tropical, subtropical, or warm waters and you encounter one of these, please apologize on behalf of mankind. We really should have given them a better name.


Anonymous said...

I pledge from now on to only refer to killer whales as "False Grim Reaper Whales".

Raging Wombat said...

I love it! I'll do the same.

bats :[ said...

We saw the Navy working with a couple of these whales in 2003 when we were vacationing in San Diego. No one quite knew what they were doing (we watched them from the Cabrillo Monument, at the mouth of Mission Bay), but the Park Rangers there knew that they were false killer whales and showed us pictures. Keen!

Anonymous said...

Where can we send a petition protesting the poor naming choice for this whale? Is there a special secret scientist enclave somewhere that we could picket??? It is all very wrong. They will always be Grim Reaper Whales to me. : (

Sherry at SofN : )