└ Fast Facts
Adult humpbacks range in length from 12–16 metres (40–50 ft) and weigh approximately 36,000 kilograms (79,000 lb).
 
In 1614, One of the first attempts to hunt the humpback whale was made by John Smith off the coast of Maine. This is the same John Smith that Bermuda's John Smith's Bay is named after. By the 19th century, many nations (the United States in particular), were hunting the animal heavily in the Atlantic Ocean, and to a lesser extent in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
 

Humpback whales breathe air at the surface of the water through 2 blowholes located near the top of the head. Their blow is a double stream of spray that rises 10-13 feet (3.1-4 m) above the surface of the water.

 
The head and lower jaw of humpbacks are covered with small, round bumps on the front of the head called knobs or tubercles. A hair grows out of each tubercle and is attached to sensors that help the whale assess its surroundings.
 
Marine mammals developed blubber to provide insulation against the cold and to provide an energy reserve for periods when food cannot be found in abundance.
 
The pectoral fins of the humpbacks are the vestiges of its land mammal ancestors' front legs and have the same number of bones as the human hand minus the thumb.
 
A humpback usually blows three or four times before diving and usually stays down for ten to fifteen minutes, although 45 minute dives have been recorded. As the animal rolls forward at the surface, it lifts its flukes high in the air in what's known as a fluke-up dive. The high arch of the back is the characteristic which gave the humpback its name.
 
Humans breathe reflexively, which means we breathe without much conscious thought as to when the next breath will be. Whales breathe voluntarily, surfacing as needed. Whales exchange 90% of the air in their lungs with each blow, while humans exchange 25%.
 
Humpbacks average 45 feet in length and weigh about 40 tons, making them larger than almost all of the dinosaurs. The blue whale at 100 feet is the largest creature ever to live on the face of the earth, larger than the biggest dinasaurs.
 

Researchers have discovered that individual humpbacks can be identified by the black and white patterns on the underside of their flukes, similar to fingerprints for humans. They take pictures called "fluke ID's"and compare them to ones taken before.

 
Humpbacks are usually seen alone or in groups of two or three. However during feeding and mating seasons they may congregate in groups of up to twenty whales. During the winter season, female humpbacks are often temporarily accompanied by a male called an escort. If a calf is present, the male escort sometimes appears to protect the calf from intruders by placing himself between the calf and intruder.
 
Mothers nurse calves with thick, fat-rich milk which allows the youngsters to grow about a foot each month. At just a few months age calves make their first migration to feeding waters. By age one a calf will double its length and cease nursing. Humpbacks are fully grown by age 12 and it is estimated that they may live to age 60 but perhaps even as much as 80 or more.
 
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