Why do we call whales and dolphins fish when they are actually mammals?

And the seals are not dogs either, the pig is not a pig, the hippopotamus is not a horse, the Gemsbok is not gems, the cow is not a cow, the Jan-van-Gent, the Jan-van-gent brood not in Ghent, the Storm century has no specific taste for storms, the plague bird Does not pass the plague, the fire salamander can not withstand the sun, so the fire…

Likewise: The Water Lily is not a lily, the Water Lily is not a lily, the Willow Rose is neither a dandruff nor a willow, Ezv: hoof leaf, primrose, women’s shoe, mushroom, Egelskop, etc.

Unlike Linnean names, ordinary names do not classify living beings according to their genetic and evolutionary proximity.They are based on many different things: similarities that correspond to biology or not, more or less vague evocation of other species or objects, anecdotes, legends, etc.These are not scientific tools, but pleasant ease of expression, more comfortable and elegant, often imaginative or even poetic, sometimes funny.

In some languages, including French, some have attempted to impose a linnean nomenclature in the common language:

  • scientifically: redundant, redundant and unacknowledged.

Developments in genetics, which change the taxonomy, often make these attempts absurd;

  • for the rest: very disappointing, real linguistic samples produced, pedant, Heavy, inelegant, uncomfortable.
  • Let’s learn from experiences: A total error, an error to not recommit.

    Whales are not fish? Sure.But do you know that in the current state of knowledge “fish” is no longer taxonomically relevant?Because it contains vertebrates, especially in the water, but they are not more affable than birds and amphibians.This is not a reason to stop using this word in the current language. Those who, whether they are scientists or amateurs, are really interested in these animals, will be informed. If they use “fish”, that’s a bit like we keep saying “whales”… In Dutch, but not in French: Whale = Baleine, Potvis = Cachalot, porpoise = Marsouin: No name with “poissons = Fish”. Each language has its own history.

    In part, that just has to do with the look.These animals look fishy, so people immediately think of fish.

    Another lesser known reason has to do with religion and especially Christianity and the older, Hebrew uses.Whales and dolphins have scales and within these religious thoughts they are then considered fish, even if they are mammals. That means that whale meat and dolphin meat is not meat within these Ideologies…

    Only these animals have no scales and are therefore not kosher within the Jewish doctrine.But within Christianity, the food laws are less stringent. In Christianity, however, there is the habit of not eating meat on Fridays and on fasting days, so that whale and dolphin can be on the menu on those days. And that was useful for many islanders who could not keep a big herd and often have dolphins as a bycatch with their fishing nets. (Also in former times!)

    (See also Https://www.dbnl.org/tekst/born0 … page 111.)

    “All fish swimming in the water, Blub blub blub”

    It swims like a fish, it has fins like a fish, it looks like a fish.So the logical consequence: it is NOT a fish.

    These mammals cannot live on land, it would actually be logical because they actually come from there.

    Millions of years ago, a group of mammals decided to live in the water again.Over the millennia, the legs have been adapted to fins, to move faster through the water.

    Nowadays, the evolution is in action with the mucous fish in the South Pacific.These fishes climb with flood on the rocks to escape their enemies.

    Nature is really pretty clever lol

    1-) P.A.F. van Veen and N. van der Sijs (1997), Etymological Dictionary: The origin of our words, 2nd edition, Van Dale lexicography, Utrecht/Antwerp



    [Marine mammal {wa (e) Lvisch 1201-1250, wal 1599} (the second member Vis was added for clarification),


    Middle German Walvisch, Old High German (h) Wal, (h) Walfisc, oudengels hw忙l (english whale), Old Norse hvalr; Possibly related to Latin dogfish squalus [large fish, sea mammal, old-Prussian kalis [Catfishes, perhaps adjacent to(more) trap (



    2-) .

    Pluim (1911), approval of Dutch word distractions, Purmerend

    Walvisch; Walrus, 芒 鈧劉 t first member already tiles Walvisch and thus has nothing to do with wal .(Evenzoo is reindeer a pleonasm, as well as: ostrich, mule etc.)

    I never call a whale and a dolphin a fish.

    Maybe a matter of language.In English they have about WHALES. In Spanish BALLENAS.

    Think that a biologist can give the good/complete answer but in my opinion there are more mammals that are part of other family but happen to be mammals?

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