By NBC News
March 13, 2015

Moby Dick got lucky.

A total of nearly three million whales were killed in the 20th century, according to a new estimate—a number driven by rapid advances in hunting technology and illegal catches by nations like the Soviet Union. And the full number of whales killed may be even higher in what researchers call “the largest hunt in human history.”

The study attempts to tally the number of whales that were killed as whaling transformed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries from an enterprise carried out by men with rowboats to an industrialized effort capable of processing…

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