Thursday, December 31, 2015

Moby-Dick Ch. 32: Cetology

The following is from a work-in-progress called "Moby Dick: a Book Report" in which I read each chapter of Herman Melville's classic novel Moby Dick, and write about what I read. 

This is a somewhat infamous chapter of Moby Dick--a rather lengthy digression in which the author gives a brief lesson on cetology, listing the various types of whales that were known about in the 19th century.  The author admits that his biological lesson will be incomplete "because any human thing supposed to be complete, must for that very reason infallably be faulty."  Nevertheless, Melville says, "I will try."  Here are the types of whales he describes.  You may click on the whale's name to read more about each animal.

In the category of large whales...

1.) The Sperm Whale

 3.) The Fin-Back Whale (also called the Fin Whale).

4.) The Hump-Back Whale.

5.) The Sulfur-Bottom Whale (known today as the Blue Whale).

In the category of medium-sized whales...

6.) Grampus (known today as the Orca or Killer Whale).

7.) The Black-Fish Whale (known today as the Pilot Whale).

8.) The Narwhal.

In the category of small whales...

9.) The Huzza Porpoise (known today as the Bottlenose Dolphin).

10.) The Mealy-Mouthed Porpoise (known today as the Southern Right Whale Dolphin).

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