On Tuesday, April 8, 2003, at 09:25 PM, Matt Smith wrote:
> I am attempting to settle a dispute between myself and
> a co-worker. We are most interested in finding out
> whether or not it would be possible for a human to
> survive, if only for a short time, after being
> swallowed whole by a whale. Is this sort of thing
> even possible? Any clarification would be very
> helpful. Thanks in advance.
The key word is 'swallow.' The gullet of any whale is not all that big
(about the size of a large grapefruit in the blue whale — the largest
whale). And once past the gullet, there is no air whatsoever, so a
human would survive only as long as they could hold their breath and a
few moments longer until the brain is deprived of oxygen.
There is an apocryphal explanation of the Jonah story in which Jonah
was cast over board, 'swallowed' by a whale, and survived to tell
about. Since the whale's mouth is so large (in this story/legend the
whale is a right whale based on the etymology of the terms that survive
in the oldest record of the story), Jonah supposedly hung out in the
mouth for a few days, perhaps breathing as the whale swam at the
surface skim feeding.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Fri Apr 11 2003 - 11:47:15 EDT