People sometimes use the word dolphin and porpoise interchangeably. However this is a mistake, as dolphins and porpoises are in fact different animals.

While both are mammals and nurse their calves similarly, have lungs and breathe air, they have several important differences.

Scientifically the both are cetaceans and members of the odontoceti suborder but they are classified in different families. Porpoises are Phocoenidae and dolphins are Dolphinae.

Physically, porpoises are smaller than dolphins, reaching up to seven feet long while dolphins reach up to ten.

Porpoises have small rounded heads while dolphins have a round bulbous in the head.

The dorsal fin of porpoises is different than the dorsal fin of dolphins, having a triangle like fin while dolphin fin is waved.

Porpoises live up to mid teens while dolphins reach up to fifty years of life.

About behavior, porpoises are shy creatures, very careful of men while dolphins show less fear, approaching more often to boats or nets.

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