Why whales stay wet

From: Jennifer Philips (jphilips@hawaii.edu)
Date: Fri May 04 2001 - 02:28:03 EDT


Dear Jen,

I am working with some Grade 1 students on a whale project and we can't find
the answer to one of our questions. We were wondering why whales must stay
wet? Could you please answer our question.

Alison Bodner
Teacher-Librarian
Pacific Junction School

-----------------

Alison and students,

Whales have evolved after 50 million years to depend solely upon the ocean
for their lives. Over time, their bodies adapted to the unique effects of a
full-time water existence. This means that they can no longer physically
survive on land. When a whale or dolphin strands, a serious concern is one
of drying out and overheating. Their skin cannot retain water the way ours
does on land (it doesn't need to!), and extended exposure to the sun out of
the water causes overheating. Essentially, they must stay wet to survive.

I hope this answer's your question!
Thanks,
Jen Philips



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