Subject: Whale Questions

Martine Berube (martine@newt.bio.uci.edu)
Sat, 25 Oct 1997 17:01:40 -0700

Question1:Why do whales beach themselves?

Dear Julianna,
The reason why whales beach themselves is not quite resolved but there are
a few hypothesis out there. For the cases of mass stranding, it has been
suggested that animals are responding to the distress calls of others on
the beach, sometimes the beached animal being the leader of the groups.
However, for single animal it could be due to faulty navigation, parasitism
or some disease in the nervous system. If you want more details or up to
date information, you could contact the Center for Coastal Studies Whale
Rescue Program, or the Marine Mammal Stranding Center etc.... Look under
"Strandings and Entanglements" on the WhaleNet page to find these
organizations and persons to contact.
Good luck!


Question2: Do whales and humans have anything alike in their DNA patterns?

Dear Ian,
Yes they do. The information content of DNA, the genetic material, is in
the form of specific sequences of nucleotides (G,A,T,C) along the DNA
strands. The genetic code is nearly universal for organisms as different as
bacteria and humans.


Question3: What can you learn from whale's skin ?

Dear Kaitlyn,