This Is Why Orcas Are Called Killer Whales

When we think of the ocean’s most formidable creatures..

we often drift to the colossal blue whale or the menacing great white shark.

However, the true ruler of the sea is neither of these.

It’s the killer whale,  a creature that combines specialized hunting skills, a ferocious appetite, and sharp teeth to reign supreme.

Surprisingly, despite their name, killer whales are not whales at all.  They’re dolphins.

So, why are orcas called killer whales?

The name originates from ancient sailors who observed groups of orcas hunting and preying on larger whale species.

They called orcas ‘assassina bayenas’ or ‘whale killer,’ a term that was eventually flipped to the more straightforward ‘killer whale.’

Their Latin name, Orcinus orca, also reflects this observation of orcas feeding on large whales.

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