What’s the difference between a Porpoise and a Dolphin?

Vegan Spotlight

By Tom O’Brien

People use the terms dolphins, porpoises, and whales to describe marine mammals belonging to the order Cetacea (from the Greek work ketos, “large sea creature”), and often use them interchangeably. The orca, or killer whale, for example, is actually the largest member of the dolphin family.

Dolphins are by far more prevalent than porpoises. Most scientists agree that there are 32 dolphin species (plus five closely related species of river dolphin) and only six porpoise species.

So what’s the difference? It essentially comes down to their faces (who can forget Flipper’s famous “grin”?), their fins, and their figures. Dolphins tend to have prominent, elongated “beaks” and cone-shaped teeth, while porpoises have smaller mouths and spade-shaped teeth. The dolphin’s hooked or curved dorsal fin (the one in the middle of the animal’s back) also differs from the porpoise’s triangular dorsal fin. Generally speaking, dolphin bodies…

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About narhvalur

Environmentalist, Animal Lover, Birder,Equastrian
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