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Why are whales so big?

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  • #16
    Re: Why are whales so big?

    Foudn this on the Internet. Interesting . . .

    The secret to it all is their aquatic environment. The average blue whale
    for example is 85 feet long and weighs 106 tons, which is as much as 4
    Brontosauri or 30 elephants. Other large baleen whales such as fin and
    sei whales are much smaller than blue whales (tipping the scales on average
    at 58 tons and 13 tons respectively),but they are still considerably larger
    than the largest living terrestrial animal, the elephant. The reason whales
    are able to support such weight is the buoyancy of the water in which they
    live.

    The heavier an animal is the greater its relative surface area. The power
    of the legs and muscles which help support an animal is a function of the
    surface of their cross-sections. As the total weight of an animal increases
    a point is reached where the legs would just collapse. So once a certain
    maximum weight is reached, life on land becomes impossible. The situation
    is quite different in water however, where the buoyancy counteracts the
    gravitational pull on the body. But note that even aquatic animals have
    some limits on the size they can attain, for the surface area of the lungs,
    intestines, red blood cells and kidneys becomes relatively smaller with
    increase in total weight. This means that above a certain point the organs
    would not be able to handle the metabolic requirements of such a gargantuan
    body, but the problems of food supply would probably set a limit on further
    growth long before that point is reached.

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    • #17
      Re: Why are whales so big?

      hang on...I'm sure I've got a dictionary round here somewhere........

      Now why couldn't that info have been easily accessible for me when I was doing my science degree?????? No wonder I never finished it!!

      psr

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      • #18
        Re: Why are whales so big?

        Isn't this a little bit like asking why ants are so small? Not poking fun but when you look at the massive diversity of life on earth there's bound to be something at some point in time which just happens to be much bigger than everything else! There are many unanswerable questions, I mean, why do kangaroos bounce along like springs when everything else seems to get along much better on four legs? If insects can avoid flying into most things then why do they have such a problem with cars? Maybe its the highly reflective surface???

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        • #19
          Re: Why are whales so big?

          Funky,

          I like you. You seem like a smarta***!!!! In a nice kind of way!

          psr

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          • #20
            Re: Why are whales so big?

            Why thank you psr. A worthy condonation from a scientist indeed.
            Whenever you read my posts please do so with tongue in cheek!

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            • #21
              Re: Why are whales so big?

              LOL.....keep posting Funky. You make me laugh

              psr

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