The fin whale was first described by Friderich Martens in 1675 and then again by Paul Dudley in 1725. The former description was used as the primary basis of the species Balaena physalus by Carl Linnaeus in 1758. In 1804, Bernard Germain de LacÃ©pÃ¨de reclassified the species as Balaenoptera rorqual, based on a specimen that had stranded on Ãle Sainte-Marguerite (Cannes, France) in 1798. In 1830, Louis Companyo described a specimen that had stranded near Saint-Cyprien, southern France, in 1828 as Balaena musculus. Most later authors followed him in using the specific name musculus, until Frederick W. True (1898) showed that it referred to the blue whale. In 1846, British taxonomist John Edward Gray described a 16. 7 m (55 ft) specimen from the Falkland Islands as Balaenoptera australis. In 1865, German naturalist Hermann Burmeister described a roughly 15 m (49 ft) specimen found near Buenos Aires about 30 years earlier as Balaenoptera patachonicus. In 1903, Romanian scientist Emil RacoviÈÄ placed all these designations into Balaenoptera physalus. The word physalus comes from the Greek word physa, meaning "blows", referring to the prominent blow of the species (as described by Martens [1675, p. 132]: "They know the finn-fish by the . . . vehement blowing and spouting up of the water. . . . ").
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