Bowhead whales get their name from the heads. The bowhead whale has a massive bow-shaped skull that is over 16.5 feet (5 m) long and about 30-40% of their total body length. This large skull allows that bowhead whale to break through thick ice with its head. The bowhead whale also has a 17-19 inch (43-50 cm) thick blubber layer, thicker than any other whale's blubber.
There are whales alive today who were born before Moby Dick was written. Some of the bowhead whales in the icy waters today are over 200 years.
Bowheads seem to be recovering from the harvest of Yankee commercial whaling from 1848 to 1919, which wiped out all but 1,000 or so animals. Because the creatures can live longer than 200 years (a fact discovered when an old stone harpoon pint in a whale) some of the bowheads alive today may have themselves dodged and barbed steel points on the Yankee whalers. thirty four years ago, Scientist counted 1,200 whales, while today there are about 14,000 of the mammals out there.