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Gentle giants of the open oceans, whales are among the earth's oldest and largest creatures. Living in a watery world so far removed from our own, our understanding of whales is still advancing, and mysteries still surrounding their behavior and intellect. Their social nature and haunting "songs" have fascinated humans for generations.

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Did you know that the hippo's closest relative is the whale? The two mammals share a common ancestor that lived about 60 million years ago.

This ancestor evolved into two groups of animals: early cetaceans, which became whales, dolphins, and porpoises, and a group of unusual land animals.

The only surviving descendent of these land animals is the hippo, making its distant cousin the whale its closest surviving relative!


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Click on the individual whales in the far left column to get more cool facts.