Baleen whales are oceangoing mammals that have special plates in their mouths covered with coarse bristles known as baleen. Some of the largest mammals in the world, they belong to a suborder of whales known as the Mysticeti. Instead of tearing at food with teeth, these cetaceans filter it through their bristles. There are four families and 11 types of baleen whales, including Balaenopoteridae (humpback, blue, fin, sei, Bryde's, minke), Balaenidae (bowhead, northern right, southern right), Eschrictiidae (gray) and Neobalendae (pygmy).
Inside the mouth of a baleen whale. (Brandon Cole/Visuals Unlimited/Getty Images)
Inside the mouth of a baleen whale.
Brandon Cole/Visuals Unlimited/Getty Images
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