One not so common but just as relevant question that gets asked about whales is, what are a whales teeth out made of?
First to bring clarity to this question it is important to note that not all whale species have teeth.
There are actually two suborders of whales which are referred to as the toothed whale and baleen whale suborders.
Toothed whales as the name suggest are generally born with several rows of teeth, which they use to grab and tear the flesh off their prey as well as use their teeth for self-defense.
A few species such as the narwhal are only born with a few teeth.
Unlike a human’s teeth which are composed mostly of enamel, the teeth of toothed whales are composed of cementum cells (a specially calcified substance) which overlay dentine cells.
The amount of teeth a whale can have varies depending on species.
The killer whale for example (actually a dolphin) can have as many as 56 teeth, the narwhal whale has only two teeth which are buried in its upper jaw, and the sperm whale only has teeth on its lower jaw which fit into groves in the upper jaw.
Not all whales use their teeth for chewing either.
Some actually swallow their food whole.
As stated earlier not all whales are born with teeth.
Baleen whales do not have teeth; instead they are born with baleen plates that have bristles attached to them and from a physical perspective these bristles look and act similar to the bristles found on a comb by filtering the prey they consume.
Baleen whales are known as filter feeders and swim around with their mouth open engulfing large amounts of food and water.
They then exhale the water using their tongue and use their baleen bristles to keep larger objects such as fish from escaping, while at the same time allowing water and small debris to escape.