Talk:Killer whale/Should the page be at Orca or Killer Whale

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Regardless of the commonality of the name, the "killer whale" is not a whale. This page should be renamed to Orca for correctness. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:30, 2 October 2009 (UTC)

Actually, the Killer Whale is a toothed whale. Rlendog (talk) 13:33, 2 October 2009 (UTC)
And plenty of scientific papers use Killer Whale as the common name. Rlendog (talk) 13:34, 2 October 2009 (UTC)

The most common name of this animal is "killer whale". Orca is a scientific name for the species. See Wikipedia:Naming conventions (common names). --mav

(Interjecting in old talk because this statement enjoys a prominent place on this talk page. The statement is actually false - both Killer Whale and Orca are common names. The scientific name is Orcinus orca). Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 10:14, 30 Dec 2003 (UTC)
Sorry to cause the work. My thoughts were directed at the double misnomer. These beasts are neither whales nor killers. A convention which reflects common usage when that usage is faulty reinforces old myths. Perhaps the easiest example for a Canadain to make revolves around northern first nations called commonly called Eskimo. This is a cree language slur meaning "eater of raw flesh". prefered terminology here is Innuit meaning "The People" in their language. Reflecting common usage is the role of a dictionary. Encyclopoedia are meant to enlighten. please accept my apology and post here to talk on the topic. I've looked at the naming convention now.user:T-zero
No work involved and no reason to apologize. We don't expect newbies to automatically know everything. BTW, many animals have incorrect common names; a mosquito hawk isn't a hawk and common grey pigeon is not a pigeon but is a rock doves. This is information best left in the article and not the title. What is important is that people first find the article they are looking for - then we educate them. I don't know enough about the Eskimo issue to comment. BTW I always thought that killer whales were so named because the killed whales and not because anybody thought that they were in fact whales. Anyway, I've gotta go. Welcome aboard! --mav 21:01 Dec 19, 2002 (UTC)
As an aside Mav you bring up an interesting topic, the pioneers of the American wilderness were a pretty ignorant lot and mis-named loads of things, it's caused headaches ever since. :-) Mintguy

I've seen "orca" used newspapers I think. There's a case for saying it's a lesser common name that may be on the rise. -- Tarquin 23:05 Dec 19, 2002 (UTC)

I agree, Tarquin. Orca seems to be gradually taking over. But the ugly Killer Whale is probably the more common of the two names still - which is a pity in two ways, as it also invites confusion with a couple of its relatives. Tannin 06:23 May 4, 2003 (UTC)

Since there's a controversy over whether these are whales or even "killers", and since they're a big favorite amoung children who know them by their scientific name, I'm going to move this article to orca. --Uncle Ed 20:03, 16 Dec 2003 (UTC)

Moved back. See talk above Ed. --mav 04:07, 18 Dec 2003 (UTC)

But most people know them as killer whales, regardless of whether they are whales or killers, so the article should actually be at killer whale. -- Oliver P. 03:05, 18 Dec 2003 (UTC)

I would quite strongly suggest that Mav and Oliver are mistaken on this one, and that Ed, Tannin and Tarquin are correct. All popular (and of course scientific too) books on whales and whale-watching these days call them orca. All whale-watching tours say we are going to look for some Orca not Killer Whales. All popular nature TV programmes about whales call them orca. Even more general nature programmes call them orca most of the time these days. To call the article the older common name of Killer Whale because the proverbial man in the street is probably more likely to call it that is a mistake in my opinion - obviously we need to be helpful to the man in the street but this is what redirects and an explanatory paragraph on names are for. I plan to move the article back but will hang for a day to wait for further comment. Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 09:40, 18 Dec 2003 (UTC)
I decided to move it back. Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 09:29, 19 Dec 2003 (UTC)
Let's have a page-moving war! :)
In what way am I mistaken, Pete? Am I mistaken in thinking (a) that "killer whale" is the most commonly used term, or (b) that a Wikipedia article should be titled using the most commonly used term, or (c) that from the two preceding statements it follows that the article should be at killer whale?
(a) is actually supported by the statements of Tannin ('Killer Whale is probably the more common of the two names still') and Tarquin ('"orca" [... is...] a lesser common name'), if we disregard for now the issue of capitalisation, and it is not contradicted by Ed's statement (which was only about children). It may be that most nature programmes use the name "orca" (I wouldn't know, as I don't watch most of them), but their usage doesn't seem to have filtered down to most of the general public. I've just asked the first two people I've come across (not a random sample, admittedly), and both gave the answer "killer whale" when asked what those big black and white dolphin things were called. One knew that they had an alternative name that sounded a bit like "okra"; the other didn't know the alternative name at all! Only anecdotal evidence, admittedly, but since it supports my position I trust it. ;) Oh yes, and the New Oxford Dictionary of English has "orca" as just "another term for KILLER WHALE".
(b) is just a statement of the usual Wikipedia policy on naming conventions. Have a look at it, and tell me if you think I'm misinterpreting it. Admittedly, there's a bit at the bottom that tells you not to "overdo it" (a rather artificial addendum, effectively saying that people can be excused from following the convention if they kick up enough of a fuss), but in this case, it explicitly says that "widely-known common names of animals" should be covered by the policy. Our job as a neutral encyclopaedia is to report on how things are, not to try to force change upon people. If a term is the most commonly used one, we should use that, rather than trying to push one that is less commonly used just because a minority of people (however well-intentioned) would prefer their favourite term to be the more common one. We have to favour one usage over another in article titles, so there's no such thing as a NPOV title as such, but I think the solution closest in spirit to the NPOV ideal is to go along with the majority. As well as being arguably contrary to the philosophy of Wikipedia, there is also a practical reason why using less common terms is unhelpful. People just won't recognise them! What finally convinced me of the usefulness of the policy (I fought against it in my early days here) was Camembert's argument at the bottom of Talk:Lewis Carroll: "people interested in Lewis Carroll but who don't know much about him might see Dodgson come up on recent changes and not take any notice, because they don't realise who it is". The same argument applies in this case, only more strongly, because the name "killer whale" is not just a pseudonym. And as well as not recognising the word "orca" in recent changes, they won't recognise it in any of the places where it comes up in other articles.
(c) I hope you're not questioning my powers of logical reasoning... :) -- Oliver P. 15:57, 19 Dec 2003 (UTC)

Fixed very sloppy move by moving this page back (many double redirects left). --mav 20:55, 19 Dec 2003 (UTC)

My two cents worth would be to use "Orca" for the real page name not the incorrect "Killer Whale" term. Granted, most know it by the latter term and while I understand the "policy" to use it, I still don't agree with it in this case. RedWolf 21:39, Dec 19, 2003 (UTC)
(Replying mainly to Olly P). The choice is between the most commonly used term by the general public (most of whom couldn't give a flying fig about them whatever they are called) or the most commonly used term by people who DO give a fig. If a recent-change-watcher were knowledgeable about whales, they would be more likely to contribute to a project that called them Orca (as Killer Whale would just sound amateurish) in recent changes. This probably at least outweighs the loss we get from "man in the street" happening to notice Killer Whale on recent changes and suddenly having the urge to find out about them. If policy is to have the article name to appease people who know nothing about a subject at the cost of irritating the people who do, even when we have redirects an opening paragraph that explains, then it is worth re-evaluating this policy. Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 09:25, 20 Dec 2003 (UTC)
On another note, we did not have a "page moving war". I made a comment that I wanted the page at the other location, waited for a day, NO-ONE said anything despite the key players in this discussion visiting Wikipedia during that time. Only when I moved the page did anyone do anything (revert straight back)... my Wikietiquette has been fine thanks very much. Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 09:25, 20 Dec 2003 (UTC)~
Mav, are you ok with the article being at Orca if I fix the double re-directs? Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 09:25, 20 Dec 2003 (UTC)
That would be premature. I agree that Orca is gaining wider use but it still is less common than Killer Whale. When usage changes to favor Orca then we can move this page. BTW, Bald Eagles aren't bald and Elephant Seals aren't elephants but that is fine because those are names not descriptions. Please don't confuse the two. --mav 15:52, 20 Dec 2003 (UTC)
I've never made the mistake. What made you think I did? My point is about who uses the Orca name and who uses the Killer Whale name and how we would best serve both groups. Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 15:38, 21 Dec 2003 (UTC)
Well it's been 11 days since I moved the page. I am going to move it back again. I hope the 11 day gap is sufficient to persuade interested parties that this is not a knee-jerk reaction or an attempt at a page-moving war. I will fix the double redirects (though I think this was an non-reason to begin with - we only need to point killer whale at Orca rather than Killer Whale - and having the article entitled Killer Whale but written with Orca as the main name is more much more "sloppy" - which is what undoing my change caused). Further my arguments for the change have not been refuted (or in fact responded to at all). If the page move does prompt a response where discussion didn't, it should take into account that the "commonest" name - Killer Whale - has less than 200,000 Google hits, whereas the "less common" Orca has 900,000. Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 10:14, 30 Dec 2003 (UTC)
OK - I just checked and it does look like usage has changed to favor Orca. Common name naming convention still holds. --mav

More on naming[edit]

To me it seems strange to use Orca as the main reference for this article. Of course orca needs to be included, not only as a redirection page but also in the article. The traditional common name is however Killer whale although several people have been promoting the use of orca in place of the dominating common name. I guess it has something to do with an uncomfortable feeling many may have with the use of killer together with whale which has a very positive image in most urban societies in the western world. This may also be the reason why orca in many ears sounds more like a pet name than a common name of an animal. The use is also widespread in activist groups, whale museums ("Help name the orca babies"), etc. In this context however, I think it would be wise to use the traditional term killer whale, which also is known outside the groups just mentioned.

I'm not sure how this brings anything to the debate we already had above. The article is at orca because that is what a vast majority of the english-speaking people interested in this area call it, as evidenced by the plurality of google hits. I've never seen this "don't call it killer because it is not so cuddly" argument before... but if you have a reference I will be very pleased to read it, and we should think about adding it the section on naming. Pcb21| Pete 21:16, 1 Jun 2004 (UTC)

It ha also to do that the "Orca" is actually a kind of dolphin, not a whale. But you all are right, we need solid references from the marine biology field.

--Asierra (talk) 23:23, 27 October 2012 (UTC)

killer vs orca[edit]

Why isn't this matter as simple as looking at this page:

In all scientific studies, they are referred to as killer whales (Orcinus orca). Thus, that is their correct name. Isn't that enough? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 14:32:28, August 19, 2007 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was Move Parsecboy (talk) 02:28, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

OrcaKiller Whale — I am well aware of the previous discussions in Talk:Orca/Should the page be at Orca or Killer Whale. I am revisiting this for 2 reasons: 1) the most recent discussion was 2004 and since then Mammal articles now follow the naming conventions of MSW3, and 2) the most recent version of MSW3 was 2005 and it uses Killer Whale. The previous discussions decided on "Orca" mainly because it was the most used term, but MSW3 was not referenced once. Therefore, I am reopening this based on the current consensus to use MSW3 names. (Note: also alerting WP:MAMMAL & WP:CETA.) — Tombstone (talk) 14:00, 9 January 2009 (UTC)


Feel free to state your position on the renaming proposal by beginning a new line in this section with *'''Support''' or *'''Oppose''', then sign your comment with ~~~~. Since polling is not a substitute for discussion, please explain your reasons, taking into account Wikipedia's naming conventions.
  • Support: Unless someone can find an example, mammal articles are named after MSW3 without exception, I don't see why this should be any different. Jack (talk) 15:24, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
    • Note: there are a few stragglers that haven't been updated yet, and I noticed a few more cetaceans I haven't gotten to yet. Rgrds. --Tombstone (talk) 16:07, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Support: The orca is not a whale, nor is it any more of a "killer" than any other predator. With the recent tragedy involving captive orcas, this misnomer further contributes to the orca's undeserved reputation. User:Danpaklstan
  • Oppose:I think it's odd going back to "killer whale" since orca are neither killers nor whales. Bob98133 (talk) 15:48, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose: As long as there is another established name, Killer whale should not be used since it is POV. --Novil Ariandis (talk) 16:20, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
    • How is the common name "Killer Whale" POV? and if it is, how is the name "Orca" not? Rlendog (talk) 17:05, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
      • The term killer whale suggests that it "murders" its prey or even humans, although the actions of animals can't be judged by a moral code. If another common, more neutral, name for a species exists that should be used. --Novil Ariandis (talk) 23:14, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
        • No one is suggesting calling the species "Murder Whale" or "Killer of Humans Whale". There is no suggestion in the term "killer whale" that humans are what it kills or that it violates any moral code. Rlendog (talk) 06:22, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Support: WP policy implies that the most common name should be used as the main article name, and in English I guess "killer whale" is the most common. And yes, of course it is a killer (predator), and the article intro clearly states that it is a kind of dolphin, not a real whale. Mondeo (talk) 16:21, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Support: MSW3 is the general standard for common names and there is no reason to make an exception here. Furthermore, "Killer Whale" appears to be the more common term within English and as used by biologists, as is conceded by papers suggesting the use of "Orca", e.g., [1]]. The only reasons I have seen for prefering the Latin "Orca" to the English "Killer Whale" are that:
the term "killer" has negative connotations - but, given that the animal clearly kills its prey, this is just POV, and
it is not really a "whale", but a dolphin - but technically all dolphins are whales, and no one seems to have a problem with other dolphins, such as pilot whales or Melon-headed Whales, having the term "whale" in their English common name.
A further problem with the term Orca, albeit one that may run afoul of WP:CRYSTAL to some extent, is that, as stated in the articles, there have recently been proposals to split the genus into several species. Although that hasn't happened yet, and may not, if that does happen, the term "Orca" will only be valid for one of those species, the one that remains Orcinus orca. The other Orcinus species will still be some form of "killer whale". Rlendog (talk) 17:34, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
I regards to your example, while the term is used for a picture caption, the title of the article and the text of the article uses Orca, do you have any examples of the scientific lit (eg peer reviewed), which used Killer whale over Orca as the common name?--Kevmin (talk) 01:31, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
I was actually referring to the section on naming down the page, rather than the caption. But Google Scholar shows numerous examples of "killer whale" being used as the common name. The first few: [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] Rlendog (talk) 06:26, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Support. It makes sense in general to use MSW3 names except when there is a very strong argument otherwise (as in Mahogany Glider, where the proposed "Ebony Glider" was almost unknown; Common Planigale, where "Pygmy Planigale" was incorrect as other planigales are smaller; and Grey-bellied Dunnart, where regional differences in spelling were maintained, i.e. "Grey" rather than "Gray"). The name "Killer Whale" is in common use, it is not incorrect as the species is undoubtedly both a killer and a whale, and there are no regional issues as the species is of worldwide distribution. Frickeg (talk) 23:14, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose: killer is definitely POV. --De.Gerbil (talk) 23:20, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
What is the POV? Are you suggesting that there is some dispute over whether it actually kills its prey? Rlendog (talk) 06:12, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Support - When there is a False Killer Whale (Pseudorca) there could be also a Killer Whale (which is not POV at all but a term which is knowing since 19th century) --Melly42 (talk) 23:23, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose As a note Orca is used as the common name in the Puget Sound Region so its not just a matter of "vernacular" name vrs "scientific" name. Also while not definitive a search on google shows that Orca gets 9,810,000 hits, killer whale gets 2,470,000 hits and "Killer whale" gets 1,350,000 hits. Using google scholar to look at per reviewed papers- Orca 29,400; killer whale 17,600; and "killer whale" 6,620. Both show that Orca is used almost 4 times as much in regular websites and almost half again as much as killer whale (w/o quotes) in the scientific lit. It seems to make sense to leave the page at the term that is most used.--Kevmin (talk) 01:31, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
    • Google is likely picking up use of the Latin name Orcinus orca as well as any English usage as a common name. Rlendog (talk) 06:25, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Support. Google results are heavily skewed by uses of the term "orca" to mean things other than the topic of this article. The scientific literature that I can recall primarily uses the term "killer whale". In the first page of a Google Scholar search for "orca" all the results that are about this species use the term "killer whale" as the primary English term. Furthermore, the way these animals are regarded in human cultures is more as whales than as dolphins. Clayoquot (talk | contribs) 04:29, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose.Neutral (see below). Animal terms mean different things in different languages. As whales do not include dolphins by default (in contrast to other languages), it is confusing to call a dolphin whale, if there is no necessity. About "killer": All predators are killers, and there are other predator whales. Any interpretation of their hunting style is POV. --KnightMove (talk) 06:32, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
I agree with you that "all predators are killers, and there are other predator whales", but I am not seeing where there is any "interpretation of their hunting style" that would represent a non-neutral POV. There is a common name, one which is accurate since I don't think anyone denies that they are predators and, as you state, "all predators are killers". There is no interpretation beyond that. Rlendog (talk) 07:05, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Support but explicitly disavow using MSW3 as a basis for our determinations. This should be there under our naming conventions, using the common name. Gene Nygaard (talk) 13:52, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Support, but like Gene, I disavow using MSW3 as a basis for our determinations. Srnec (talk) 05:13, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Orca seems to be more common, and "killer whale" is misleading. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 14:50, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I'm from a state where there is a sizable population of Orcas, and are generators of large amounts of money and news when something happens to one of the pods. I have never seen the term "Killer Whale" used primarily here. I think it makes more sense to call it what the people who have experience with them refer to them as, opposing to what they are commonly referred to in Nebraska as or at Sea World, where there are few wild individuals around. --BACON EXPLOSION (talk) 00:03, 1 March 2009 (UTC)


Any additional comments:

I jumped down to discussion section to reply - agreed, orcas are whales. So are dolphins, yet they are usually not referred to as whales. The killer whale name was given to orca when not much was known about them. As in 'killer tiger', the implication is that they kill humans, which is unreported for wild orca. On the other hand, I just looked at the Right Whale article, and if they're stuck with that name, orca may as well be killer whales. I'll change my oppose vote to abstain. Bob98133 (talk) 17:14, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

OK, I didn't know that "killer" implies killing humans. I assumed that "killer" simply means that it is a predator (as opposed to some big whales). In my language, Orca is simply called "fat munchers" because of their apatite for seal and other fat animals, previous also called "pole whales" because of the characteristic dorsal fin. In any case I don't think it is biased (POV) to use the name "killer whale", it is simply the common name. Regards, —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mondeo (talkcontribs) 17:39, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
I don't think the term implies that orcas kill humans. I believe that the origin of the name is a reversal of an older name "whale killer". Rlendog (talk) 19:12, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
I was going to mention that the origin was "whale killer", but see you beat me to it. Prior to whaling, baleen whales, particularly whale tongues and other soft parts that could be torn off easily were a primary food source. --Aranae (talk) 23:24, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
Bob98133: Currently, you contradict the article Whale, which states that the term does not include dolphins in English. --KnightMove (talk) 06:45, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
Per the article Toothed whale, Killer Whales or Orcas are in fact toothed "whales". Rlendog (talk) 07:07, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
Well, biological nomenclature does not always follow intuition and the logic of speech... a velvet ant is a wasp, while a wood wasp is not a wasp. Thus, it might well be that a dolphin is a toothed whale, but not whale. However, as the former article explicitly states dolphins to be whales, and the latter states they're not, there is currently a contradiction between those two articles to be fixed. --KnightMove (talk) 07:43, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

POV? I am a bit confused by the claims above that "killer" in "killer whale" is POV. Can somebody please make explicit the reasons. It is a predator and "killer whale" is the common name in English (and similar names exist in other languages). Regards, Mondeo (talk) 15:48, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

So do you think the species was named like this just for being a predator? --KnightMove (talk) 17:55, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
I don't know, I am simply confused about POV claims - why is the name POV? As far as I know it is a clever hunter, more so perhaps than the sharks. In my language it also has a less than flattering name. Regards, Mondeo (talk) 18:14, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
"It is derived from the name Basque whalers gave the species: ballena asesina—“whale killer”—an appropriate moniker for a predator that hunts and eats whales." [9]. As Rlendog and Aranae pointed out, it's nothing to do with it being a 'killer'. Even if this were the reason for its name, we should still follow naming conventions laid out by MSW3; your own examples show that even if the common name may not be entirely accurate, it is still used. Jack (talk) 18:10, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
I guess opinions are formed about this, now it's a matter of interpretation. An additional point: Killer bees, killer ants or killer sharks all express a danger to humans. I don't think it's advisable to use a name capable of being misunderstood in this regard. --KnightMove (talk) 22:19, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
The point I'm trying to put across is: by consensus of WikiProject Mammals, Mammal Species of the World (MSW3) is the taxonomic reference for mammal common names, the only reason to deviate from this text is "for newly discovered species or taxonomic revisions with significant scientific consensus", the reason for this is to "minimize inconsistencies and conflicts" in articles. Jack (talk) 23:51, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
If one truly wanted to minimize conflict then the articles would located at the scientific name and any and all common names would be redirects or disambiguation pages. The major thing to remember is the common vernacular names are NOT scientifically regulated and they boil down in most cases to the preferred region variation. The Puget Sound region uses Orca as the preferred common name, how does MSW3 decide what common name to use? --Kevmin (talk) 00:11, 11 January 2009 (UTC)
It seems as though the book was originally started by the American Society of Mammalogists and published by Association of Systematics Collections, more recently it has received funding from the Smithsonian.[10] It has experts in each order of mammals who decide on the common names. Jack (talk) 00:59, 11 January 2009 (UTC)
How is it determined that "Orca" is the "preferred common name" in the Puget Sound region? Rlendog (talk) 01:57, 11 January 2009 (UTC)
Using scientific names may work to minimize conflict for this article, but it would not necessarily work any better than common names in general. It certainly would not work for Sperm Whale, to use another toothed whale as an example. See the "catadon" section of the talk page if you want evidence. Rlendog (talk) 02:08, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

As the respective names for False Killer Whale and Pygmy Killer Whale are not established, thus there can't be an "orca-consistency", I change my vote to neutral. --KnightMove (talk) 00:12, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

  • Comment What the hell is "MSW3"? That should have been explained or at least linked somewhere in starting this discussion. Why should we follow them? Gene Nygaard (talk) 13:48, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
If you read the above conversation I've explained what MSW3 is. Cheers, Jack (talk) 17:42, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

Seaworld usage[edit]

I think the fact that Seaworld uses "killer whale" [1] goes a long way towards establishing what the most commonly used name is. --Born2cycle (talk) 01:19, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Go Orca!![edit]

Just because some scientist named them 'killer whales' over 120 years ago, doesn't mean it's right. They are neither killers, nor whales. People should know the common name, but also the correct name. Don't continue this misinterpretation of these fine creatures. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Stony7420 (talkcontribs) 12:55, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

Change the name to Orca!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!![edit]

I propose that the name of the article should be changed to Orca for the following reasons:

1) The name Killer Whale derives from the Spanish "asesino ballena" which means whale killer. This term is hundreds of years old and losing ground in educated communities to Orca.

2) Most marine biologists use the term Orca

3) The purpose of wikipedia is to educate and I think that the scientifically favoured name should carry greater significance than the "populist name" that the scientifically uneducated use

4) Later in the article there is a subsection on "Captive Orca" Let's have some consistency please

5) At the end of the day, Sea World is a tourist attraction. They call them Killer Whales because this makes the show more exciting to the general public. The term is emotively loadedad (Ooh, look at the big scary killer whale) London Natural History Museum refers to them as Orca as does every other biological department I have experienced in the UK at least (at least 5 university Marine Biology departments & The Natural History Museum in London. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sachavarma (talkcontribs) 21:39, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

A few points:
  • MSW3, which is typically the source for mammal common names, uses "Killer Whale".
  • As for "most marine biologists use the term Orca", and "[Killer Whale] is losing ground to Orca", most of the papers on Google Scholar use "Orcinus Orca" as the scientific name, but "Killer Whale" as the common name.
  • I have no problem with changing the "Captive Orca" subtitle to "Captive Killerr Whales", if you prefer that.
  • Many of the organizations that are pushing the term "Orca" have as much political/economic motivation as Sea World.
  • Since there are studies ongoing as to whether to split the animal into multiple species, if that occurs only one species will be able to retain the scientific name "O. orca". Rlendog (talk) 13:25, 2 October 2009 (UTC)
1) According to you?

2)References? 3)Key words there are "and I think". So we should educate people to your standards? 5)Oh good! London has decided this argument for us all. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:17, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

  • As a plus for the Orca name, I believe Orca is the most common name of the "Killer Whale" in Canada. This page appears to be written in Canadian English so therefore renaming it Orca would be proper. (talk) 08:20, 27 April 2013 (UTC)


I believe that the page name should be changed to Orca principally because the name "Killer Whale" is a bastardisation of an archaic nickname for the species. Originally, Orcas were called "Killers-of-whales" owing to their tendency to drown whale calves for food. Over the years the "of" part was dropped, and the name became shorter, and ultimately more inaccurate. It may be the name by which they are most commonly known, but that still doesn't make it right. Orcas are in the family Delphinidae; they are not whales. For the sake of accuracy, I think the name should be changed to orca, and a small section included explaining the origin of the inaccurate nickame. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Tlc 9424 (talkcontribs) 10:51, 16 August 2013 (UTC)