Subject: Arctic marine mammals

Dagmar Fertl (
Fri, 24 Sep 1999 05:37:02 PDT

I am looking for some information on how whales and other artic animals can 
survie in such cold water temps.   I saw a experiment one time on this.  
They took their arms in stuck in ice then cover them with crisco and stuck 
their arm back into the ice?  Do you have any information on this or where I 
can find some
thanks, Laura 6th grade student
Dear Laura,

The experiment you're talking about is actually available as a link via the 
WhaleNet webpage -

You already guessed at how whales minimize heat loss - by having blubber.  
But you may not know that whales also have a specialized heat-exchange 
system....there is a network of blood vessels that work as a counter-current 
system - heat lost from outflowing blood (from the warm body core) is at 
least partly recovered by closely adjacent inflowing blood.  Respiration 
rates are reduced and metabolic rate increased, both serving further to 
conserve heat.  Now, this only explains for whales, and not a polar bear, 
which also lives in the Arctic or seals, sea lions, and walruses.  Hope this 


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