Subject: Re: whales

Al Romero (aromero@ACC.FAU.EDU)
Sun, 13 Apr 1997 17:02:50 -0500 (EST)

At 08:24 AM 4/11/97 -0700, you wrote:
>How long have whales existed on this planet?

The oldest fossil of whales is Pakicetus inachus, an amphibian animal that
lived in riverine environments next to the Tethys Sea about 49.5 million
years ago. Whales much more adapted to the aquatic environment have been
found within the time range of 49 to 46 million years ago in what is today
Pakistan. This part of the world was submerged and the ocean that covered it
was called the Tethys Sea, which disappeared as the Indian subcontinent
moved northward and collided with what is today northern Asia.

Are they related to the dog?

Not really. What happens is that their closer terrestrial relatives belonged
to a group of mammals today extinct called the Mesonychids. Morphological
reconstructions of these animals have produced models that resemble dogs
except for the fact that they had hoofs. The closest living relatives of
whales (cetaceans) are the artiodactyls (deers and their relatives). This
hypothesis has been supported by biochemical/phylogenetic studies

>Can whales talk mentally to humans? Can they talk with there minds with 
>each other? 

There is no evidence of such a thing whatsoever, not even among humans. I
strongly recommend you to read the article "Help Stamp Out Absurd Beliefs"
which appeared in Time magazine, page 80, of its April 13, 1992 issue. 

Do whales know about the dangers there in? Do whales know 
>that humans will probably distroy the earthoe day?

If they know something, they do not show it. Whales and dolphins continue,
at least in most cases, to be friendly toward humans that approach them.

> Matthew Griffin & Kevin Rhodes
>Dillard Middle School

Best wishes,

Aldemaro Romero, Ph.D.		
Florida Atlantic University	(954)236-1125	
College of Liberal Arts		(954)236-1150 (F)
Department of Biology		aromero@acc.fau.edu
2912 College Ave.,
Davie, FL 33314