death of whales

From: Dagmar Fertl (dagmar_fertl@hotmail.com)
Date: Tue Apr 04 2000 - 08:48:44 EDT


I am trying to find out some info for an science class. Our assingment was
to find out why a whale that was killed had foming pink liquid comming from
his mouth and why he was still warm when his killer cut him open 36 hours
later.

thank you
Margeret
***************************
Margeret,

I would guess that pink liquid coming from the mouth would be blood coming
from the internal part of the body. Since the mouth of a whale is only used
for eating (not also for breathing like in humans), this blood would be
coming from somewhere in the digestive system.

The body still being warm is because whales are covered in blubber. Blubber
is fat, which is an excellent insulator. It's like a big thermos, keeping
the animal very warm. You actually hit upon the reason why water is
constantly poured on stranded whales and dolphins. It's not so much to keep
the skin from cracking, but to keep the animal from overheating. As you
probably know, water is a great conductor of heat. Even if you are swimming
around in the ocean during the summer, eventually, you will become cold,
because the water is pulling the heat from your body.

Good luck with the assignment!

Dagmar
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