Whales at depth

From: Dagmar Fertl (dagmar_fertl@hotmail.com)
Date: Tue Apr 04 2000 - 14:09:31 EDT


Hi, and thanks for your help. In a recent discussion with some friends the
idea that whales probably look markedly different at great depth was
discussed. It was suggested that they may even flatten out like plaice or
dab! Is there research/discussion in this area available on the net? This
is probably not your area, but I'm fascinated,

Thanks again,

Mike Ledwith
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Hi Mike. You're right, this is kind of out of my realm of knowledge. What I
can tell you is that toothed whales (like dolphins) have flexible rib cages
that are easily deformed and compress during diving. This helps compress the
air and keeps nitrogen narcosis from happening, since air bubbles cannot
form in the blood.

There has been some discussion that perhaps the head of a sperm whale,
mainly filled with fatty tissue, responds to diving pressure as well.

So, a little information for you. But certainly, the animals do not flatten
out or anything like that.

Dagmar
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