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This page contains information regarding Star Trek: Prodigy, and thus may contain spoilers.

The humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) was a sentient aquatic cetaceous mammal species indigenous to Earth.

Evolutionary history[]

The humpback whales evolved approximately ten million years before modern Humans. Adults usually ranged between forty-five to fifty feet in length, and weighed about forty tons. This species was well known for its complex song, which was proven in 2286 to be a full-fledged language. This species became extinct during the 21st century due to overhunting.

At some point in the past, humpback whales were contacted by an advanced alien race. The race maintained some level of contact until the 21st century when the humpbacks became extinct. Some time after that point, an alien probe was sent to Earth to determine why contact had been lost with the humpback whale. The probe arrived in 2286 and, finding no sign of the humpbacks, began to ionize Earth's oceans with a very powerful communication signal. (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)


In 2286, Admiral James T. Kirk traveled back in time to San Francisco in 1986 and retrieved two humpback whales to answer the alien probe which now threatened Earth. The whales were captive, kept in a large tank at the Cetacean Institute in Sausalito, California. Their care and study were overseen by Dr. Gillian Taylor, a whale expert specializing in the species and whom led a tour including Kirk and Spock. The two whales were a mated couple, named George and Gracie, after the famous comedy acting duo George and Gracie Burns. Dr. Taylor had developed an affectionate bond with the whales, taking a strong interest in their comfort and safety. During the tour, she informed the group that the whales were to be released into the Pacific Ocean; the Institute simply could not afford to care for and feed them any longer. Later, in an embarrassing moment during the tour, Spock, having entered the whales' tank, mind-melded with George and communicated the intentions of the Bounty's crew. Kirk and Spock were then told to leave the institution. During his melding with George, Spock discovered that Gracie was pregnant.

In a later dinner conversation with Taylor, she confirmed to Kirk that Gracie was indeed pregnant but also that the whales would be subject to hunting after their release and that a captive humpback's life expectancy in the wild was typically very low. Taylor also revealed that the whales' release was set for noon the following day, forcing Kirk to push up his mission's timetable and hurry the preparations.

Kirk and his crew's mission was a success and the two whales were released into 23rd century San Francisco Bay. George quickly broke into his song, communicating with the probe, and informing the probe his species had returned to Earth. The probe ceased its powerful and damaging signal and departed Earth. The whales, after breaching a few times, made for the open ocean, possibly repopulating the species on Earth.

Information on, a model of, and a global map showing the range of this species was included in a display of other baleen whales that was seen in the Cetacean Institute in 1986. (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)

The two whales seen in Star Trek IV were mechanically created by Industrial Light & Magic under project supervisor Walt Conti with help of advisor and marine mammal expert Pieter Folkens. Several scenes, such as the last scene in which the two whales responded to the alien probe and swam out to sea, were footage from a whale documentary.

24th century[]

By 2380s, humpback whales served in Cetacean Ops aboard Federation Starfleet ships both in the prime universe, as well as on Terran Imperial Starfleet ships in the mirror universe. (PRO: "Into the Breach, Part I", "Cracked Mirror")

Humpback whale

A humpback whale

In 2380, Beckett Mariner included a photograph of a humpback whale on her conspiracy board. (LD: "Cupid's Errant Arrow")

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