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Sperm Whale

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Product Code ps_an3428b

The most massive carnivore in the world today!

Poser/DS Technical Notes

General: Master 'ERC' dials to control overall body movement are located in the BODY of the figure. Dials specific to the head (controlling both eyes together, for example) are located in the HEAD body part.

Gender/Age can be selected via either of two methods. Either load the bull, cow, or calf figures (from the Figures/Digital_I library); or, should you decide to change the figure after having posed or positioned it in your scene, you can apply a MAT-MOR pose (from the Pose/Dig I - Sperm Whales folder). Using the MAT-MOR file will not change the position or pose of the figure, merely the shape and size.

DS Usage: Files (including Materials) should load correctly in DAZ Studio from the Poser Library icons, with DAZ Material presets loading textures into their appropriate locations and settings.

Biology Notes

The Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus, also sometimes referred to as P. catodon in older texts) is the largest of the 'toothed whales' (the Odontoceti), and is therefore more closely related to the Killer Whale (Orcinus orca) and the rest of the dolphin and porpoise family than to the other large whales, the rorquals and their kin (the Mysticeti or 'baleen whales'). Adult males can reach up to 20 meters (65 feet) in length, and females are considerably smaller, usually in the 10-12 meter (30-40 feet) range. Adults have between 36 and 50 peg-shaped teeth in their lower jaws, but usually no teeth at all in the upper jaw. (In rare specimens, a couple of upper teeth are found, but for the most part, the upper jaw actually contains sockets for the lower teeth to fit into when the mouth is closed).

Like all toothed whales, the sperm whale has only a single nostril, or blowhole. Unlike most of its smaller cousins, however, the blowhole of the sperm whale is asymmetrical - on the left side of the head, often on a raised 'boss'. This lends a strangely asymmetrical look to the whale viewed from above or from the front.

Sperm Whales are found in all oceans, from the tropics to the sub-polar regions. Although they were hunted extensively in the past (see below), they are now relatively plentiful.

The genders are usually only found together during breeding season; at other times, young bulls form groups (pods) with their peers, and the females and their calves form separate pods. Older, sexually mature bulls are usually solitary. Only the males tend to wander towards the polar regions in the summer; females and calves stay in more temperate waters year-round.

The Sperm Whale is best known for its phenomenal diving ability. Adults can remain underwater for up to 2 hours on a deep dive, although most dives do not exceed 45 minutes in duration. During these dives, the sperm whales descend to great depths (they are usually found in deep waters offshore), where they feed in the dark on giant squid, which they find by echolocation, or natural sonar. Adults usually bear the scars of these battles on their massive heads, so the squids do not succumb without a fight.

Sperm Whales are fairly active creatures - they often observed to 'breach' (jump out of the water), 'lobtail' (slap the water with their tailflukes), and 'spyhop' (raise the massive head vertically out of the water to observe above the surface.

(a deliberately exaggerated image, loosely based on whaling imagery of old - it is unlikely that most whales could propel themselves quite so far out of the water!)


the Sperm Whale was the usual target of the whaling ships of old (see image above). Their massive heads contain sacs permeated with a milky oil called spermaceti, very useful for its lubricating properties. Early whalers actually believed that this oil was the whale's sperm - hence its common name. A large whale could contain up to 3 tons of spermaceti in its head!

Whale oil was also rendered out of the blubber of the carcasses. it was used as a heating/lighting oil, and for other industrial uses.

Ambergris is another valuable product of sperm whales - it is a solid waxy substance produced in the digestive system of a sperm whale, and either excreted anally or vomited orally. It may be produced as a protective coating to prevent damage by the sharp horny beaks of the squid the whale has consumed, as beaks are sometimes found embedded in the ambergris lumps. Regardless of its purpose to the whale, it was highly prized as a fixative in perfumery. Nowadays, it has largely been replaced in the perfume industry by synthetic compounds.

Finally, the peg-shaped sperm whale teeth were often used as a source for small ivory items, and the art of 'scrimshaw' - coloured engravings in the enamel of the teeth.

Also, for those seeking to do literary renders, grab the free add-on 'White Whale' texture from the DAZ Freepozitory:

The Whales of DAZ

(All whale figures by Digital I Designs)