Data from: Mandible allometry in extant and fossil Balaenopteridae (Cetacea: Mammalia): the largest vertebrate skeletal element and its role in rorqual lunge-feeding

Nicholas D. Pyenson, Jeremy A. Goldbogen & Robert E. Shadwick
Rorqual whales (crown Balaenopteridae) are unique among aquatic vertebrates in their ability to lunge-feed. During a single lunge, rorquals rapidly engulf a large volume of prey-laden water at high speed, which they then filter to capture suspended prey. Engulfment biomechanics are mostly governed by the coordinated opening and closing of the mandibles at large gape angles, which differentially exposes the floor of the oral cavity to oncoming flow. Mouth area in rorquals is delimited by...
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