Subject: Blue Whale

Lori Mazzuca (
Fri, 16 May 1997 08:05:25 -1000 (HST)

Dear Suzanne,
	I have received 3 similar messages from you, so you must have
gotten through.  Thank you for the questions from your class about the
blue whale:  How big are the ribs of a blue whale and what are the
dimensions of it's rib cage?  Good question! In my research of that
question I can tell you that the blue whale is the largest creature to
have lived on the planet.  They can grow to 100 feet and weigh more than
150 tons.  A blue whale's tongue weighs more than an elephant.  It's heart
is as large as a volkswagen beetle, and its aorta is large enough for the
students in your class to walk through like a tunnel! I have not been able
to find the dimensions of a rib cage or even the size of a rib.  I might
be able to give an educated guess that a 15 foot boat would fit easily
inside the rib cage (see the recently published boodk Whales, Dolphins,
and Porpoises by National Geographic Society--page 100-101), but I cannot
scientifically give you dimensions.
	My suggestion is to seek whale catch data in the library. Our local
university (where I know the information is) is closed for a week in
between spring and summer session, therefore I cannot get in to look it
up. I hope this helps to at least give some perspective.  They are large!

On Thu, 15 May 1997, Haas, Suzanne wrote:

>  Hello, Lori,
> I hope you can help us.  The children and I are talking about whales and 
> things that are big.  We have a few questions:  How big are the ribs of a 
> blue whale?   What are the dimensions of a blue whale's rib cage?
> Thank you.
> Suzanne Haas
> Kindergarten Sheridan Hills
> Richfield, Minnesota.