whale questions

From: Tom Ford (tjfketos@rcn.com)
Date: Thu Mar 10 2005 - 22:28:49 EST

  • Next message: Tom Ford: "Information on Sei Whales"

    Dear Ms Margaret Slowinski and clearly smart students,

    So many good questions.
    You are going to make me work hard.
    Well that is what I am here for.

    Dear Brad,
    The whale is blowing out warm air. The warm air condenses ( forms water
    droplets) when it hits the colder ocean air. There are times when some water
    caught on top of the blowhole gets sprayed upward as well. Whales do not
    shoot water out of their lungs and blowhole.

    Dear Camilla Mia, and Karla,
    Killer whales are whales with a special job. They are predators. Predators
    have the job of keeping the other groupss of whales , dolphins and other
    animals healthy. They eat other animals for a very simple reason. They, the
    killer whales, are hungry. All killer whales do not eat other mammals many
    eat only fish.
    Check the websites for "The Center for Whale Research" www.whaleresearch.com
    and "Orcas in Patagonia" www.naturephotography.net/orca.hmtl. another
    wonderful site is stubbs-island.com/english/orca/index.html
    You will see the different ways that killer whales eat.

    Dear Mary and Jacob,
    Blue whales can hear very well because their ears get the sound through the
    skin over their ears. The outer earhole is the size of a pencil but the
    inner ear is the size of a small grape fruit and specially adapted to hear
    very low sounds.

    Dear Scott, Michelle, Matthew, Sam and Samantha.
    Are you folks all in a club ?
    A baby blue whale is about the same size and weight as an eight passenger

    Dear Drew, Nicki and Kendall,
    You guys are a more manageable group.
    Blue whales have two blowholes because the blowhole is their nose. Like you
    they have two nostrils in that nose. Toothed whales only have one nostril

    Dear Zach and Mason ,
    A female blue whale is larger than a male because she has babies. As I told
    the club two answers ago a baby blue whale is huge. In order for the mother
    blue whale to grow and feed such a baby she has to be enormous. Blue whale
    mothers nurse their babies and need large amounts of stored nutrition to
    make enough milk to feed the baby. Male blue whales only have to feed
    themselves and so only eat for one. Mother blue whales are eating for two
    and so have to store large amounts to feed the lucky baby whale.

    Dear Tommy and Alex,
    A blue whale can be as big as two large school busses parked end to end. A
    measured blue whale was 40 meters long and weighed 94,000 kilograms. that is
    ,in our measurements, 131 feet long and 198,360 pounds or 99.18 tons. It
    must have been a female blue whale.

    Dear Anna and Kelly,

    Blue whales get large by eating gigantic numbers of tiny things. A blue
    whale like the one i told Tommy and Alex about probably ate two and a half
    TONS of food a day. That is easy to do when you have a huge mouth. A 40
    meter blue whale would have a mouth about 8 meters long and 5.5 meters wide.
    All the children in your class could play dodge ball in that space. A large
    suv weighs about two tons.

    Dear Abby,

    Whales sing in the ocean because the birds have used up all the trees. That
    was a lame joke . I am sorry because whales sing for important reasons.
    Different species of whales sing in different ways. Blue whales have very
    deep voices and sing low songs slowly. Toothed whales, like beluga whales,
    have high voices and sing quick high songs. All whales sing to communiate
    and find mates. There are two record albums by Dr. Roger Payne and you can
    hear different species sing. They are; Songs of the Humpback Whale and Deep

    Dear Kourtni,

    You have the most interesting question.
    It is quite profound.
    The short answer is .......yes.
    All whales have come from an old group called archeocetes. Over several
    millions of years they have diversified(changed) into the many types of
    whales that we see today. There was even an old whale that had feet. It was
    called pakicetus. Scientists are just now discovering several old fossil
    whales that will have a lot to show us about how and when whales became
    different from each other.

    Dear Lauren,
    Blue whales are a modern species and were certainly not the first whales on
    earth. They are however the biggest of them all. The older ancestors of the
    blue whale were big but they were not true blue whales and much smaller.

    Dear Blake,

    This is another very good question. Whales are so big because they have to
    be big. If people like us stay too long in water we get very cold. We get
    cold because we are not big and do not have good insulation. Whales use fat
    for insulation. The bigger an animal is the easier it is for that animal to
    stay warm in water. So a big and fat insulated whale can stay warm easily
    even in ice water.

    Well this is a very bright and perceptive class. You have all asked good
    questions . The best questions are always short and to the point. They are
    also about ordinary things like singing and size and eating. There is also
    nothing about any question that is wrong because it is a simple question. So
    in the future please keep asking question about all sorts of things


    Dr. Tom Ford

    From: "margret Slowinski"
    Reply-To: margaretslowinski@earthlink.net
    Date: Thu, 10 Mar 2005 17:43:58 -0600
    To: tjfketos@rcn.com, pita@whale.wheelock.edu
    Subject: whale questions

    Dear Dr. Ford, I am a first and second grade teacher and my class has been
    studying the blue whale. They have lots of questions.
    1. A lot of people say water comes out of the spout of a blue whale but I
    think it is air. Is it air? Brad
    2.Why do whales, like killer whales, eat dolphins when we know that dolphins
    are whales? Camilla and Mia & Karla
    3. How can a blue whale hear when its ear is only the size of a pencil
    point? Mary & Jacob
    4. How big is a baby blue whale? Scott & Michelle & Matthew & Sam & Samantha
    5. Why does a blue whale have 2 blowholes? Drew & Nicki & Kendall
    6. Why is a female blue whale bigger than a male? Zach & Mason
    7. How big is a blue whale? Tommy & Alex
    8. How do blue whales get so big when they eat such tiny things? Anna &
    9. Why do whales sing in the ocean? Abby
    10. Are all whales related? Kourtni
    11. Do you know if blue whales were the first whales on earth? Lauren
    12. Why are whales so big? Blake
    Thanks you for taking the time to answer the students.

    margret Slowinski
    EarthLink Revolves Around You.

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