Re: Whales and sleep

From: Tom Ford (
Date: Mon Mar 21 2005 - 19:16:07 EST

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    Dear Cynthia ,

    Gee, Grand Island is the place to be for the crane migration season. Now
    about whales sleeping.

    Yes, whales sleep. However they do not sleep the same way we sleep. All
    whales are obligate breathers. That is they need to use an act of will to
    breath. We have the luxury of being able to breathe while deeply asleep.

    Toothed whales live in extended family groups or pods. Animals in those pods
    will gather together in tight groups and rest while traveling quite slowly.
    It is thought that toothed whales can snooze by shutting down only one side
    of the brain. The make shallow dives and breath in unison . It is possible
    that one animal is fully awake and acts as a breathing coordinator for the
    group. different animals could take turns as the "sleep warden".

    Baleen whales, on the other hand, can be very sound sleepers while floating
    quietly at the surface in calm conditions. They do not appear to sleep in
    groups .

    Sweet dreams,

    Dr. Tom Ford

    > From: "Cynthia Shellhaas" <>
    > Date: Mon, 21 Mar 2005 13:36:48 -0600
    > To:,
    > Subject: Whales and sleep
    > We have been learning about whales. One question that we have been unable
    > to answer is... Do whales sleep? If they do sleep, how do they do it?
    > We are stuck in the middle of the U.S.A. but we LOVE whales!
    > Cyndee Shellhaas
    > Newell School
    > Grand Island, NE

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