sleep

From: Phil Clapham (pclapham@whsun1.wh.whoi.edu)
Date: Sat Sep 14 2002 - 22:49:10 EDT

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    Hi;

    Actually, we dont know if whales sleep in the sense that we think of it.
    Whales are voluntary breathers, which means - unlike us - that they have
    to think to breathe. This means that if they shut down both halves of
    their brain (as we do), they probably croak. Dolphins have been monitored
    with EEGs in captivity, and do something rather odd, which is sleep one
    half of their brain at a time. This makes sense, since it would allow one
    half of the brain to keep awake and track breathing while the other half
    rested. It's very likely that large whales do the same thing, but for
    obvious reasons no one has ever hooked up an EEG to a big whale to track
    its brain activity!
    Phil Clapham

    -- 
    Phillip J. Clapham, Ph.D.
    Large Whale Biology Program
    Northeast Fisheries Science Center
    166 Water Street
    Woods Hole, MA 02543
    

    Tel (508) 495-2316 Fax (508) 495-2066

    > We were wondering if whales sleep? The closest thing to whales sleeping > that we could find is logging! Is that how they sleep or are we just > way off base here. Do whales sleep? And if so, how and when? If you > know anything about this please write back at mkburk@ecksor.net > <mailto:mkburk@ecksor.net> . That should be the adress from which we > wrote you. Thank you for your time in helping us with this. >



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