Baleen: From Whales to People

For being so big, right whales eat very small food, which they catch using baleen. Baleen is the series of fringed plates hanging in right whales' mouths that are used to strain seawater for food. Until the early 1900's, right whales were heavily hunted primarily for their fatty blubber, which could be burned in oil lamps or made into soap. But whalers also brought baleen along in their catch, which could be used in a number of human products. Learn more about how whales use baleen and how it was once used by people in this slideshow.

Phoenix swimming with her calf in February 2007 in the Southeast calving grounds off the coasts of Georgia and Florida.