Whale hips

From: Jennifer Philips (jphilips@hawaii.edu)
Date: Tue May 08 2001 - 00:30:34 EDT


hi my name is josh and my homework is about whales, If whales can't walk,
why do they have hips?

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Hi Josh,

That is a very good question! Whales have a small pelvis (hips) that is no
longer attached to the vertebral column (in other mammals, like us, the
pelvis is fused to the vertebrae). Their pelvis is also much smaller than it
would have been for their ancestors. Interestingly, many investigators have
termed the whale pelvis is vestigal, meaning that it is no longer functional
or useful for the whale, and it is merely leftover from the slow
evolutionary process. A more accurate description is that the pelvis serves
a very important function for the reproductive physiology of the whale.
Several small muscles attach to the little pelvis bone and are partly
responsible for making reproduction possible.

So, whales may no longer walk, but they still have a use for their pelvis.

Thank you for your question,
Jen Philips



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