Cetaceans (sɪˈteɪʃənz; , ) are an infraorder of aquatic mammals that includes whales, dolphins, and porpoises. Key characteristics are their fully aquatic lifestyle, streamlined body shape, often large size and exclusively carnivorous diet. They propel themselves through the water with powerful up-and-down movement of their tail which ends in a paddle-like fluke, using their flipper-shaped forelimbs to maneuver.
While the majority of cetaceans live in marine environments, a small number reside solely in brackish water or fresh water. Having a cosmopolitan distribution, they can be found in some rivers and all of Earth's oceans, and many species inhabit vast ranges where they migrate with the changing of the seasons.
Cetaceans are famous for their high intelligence, complex social behaviour, and the enormous size of some of the group's members. For example, the blue whale reaches a maximum confirmed length of and a weight of 173 tonnes (190 short tons), making it the largest animal k