The fin whale is one of the Mystacoceti, or baleen whales. It belongs to the family Balaenopteridae, which is distinguished by the following characteristics: a dorsal fin is present; the ventral region of the body has longitudinal folds in the blubber that extend posteriorly from the chin to the abdominal region; the head is less than one-quarter of the body length; the skull bones are slightly arched; the baleen is short and coarse; and the pectoral fin is tetradactylous and narrow. The common names applied to this whale are finner, common finback, common finner, finback whale, common rorqual, herring whale, razorback, true fin whale, and fin whale. In this discussion, the species is termed fin whale or B. physalus. There is believed to be only one true species of fin whale in existence.
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