Whales are the largest creatures on the planet. More than fifty million years ago, the ancestors of modern whales lived on land and moved on four limbs. The abundance of predators and the lack of food forced the distant relatives of whales to adapt to life under water. But even now, whales have retained many behavioral habits inherent exclusively to the terrestrial inhabitants of the planet.
12 interesting facts about whales
- Only about 300 years ago, the indisputable belonging of whales to mammals was established, and their ancestors belonged to the artiodactyl order. Before that, whales were considered fish.
- The life of any whale begins with breast milk. A newborn cub, which can hardly be called tiny due to its eight-meter body length, drinks up to four hundred liters of milk a day. Such gluttony is understandable, because in order to survive in the open ocean, at six months, the baby must already gain twenty-five tons of weight.
- Whales are the real masters of the ocean, they are perfectly oriented in space, relying on their exceptional hearing. Despite the absence of ears, they are able to hear the call of a relative 16 km away. The ears are replaced by the lower jaw - along it the sound wave travels to the middle of the whale's throat. Whales are completely devoid of smell and taste, and they cannot boast of good eyesight.
- Giants see badly, especially at great depths, where they dive in search of food. Special fat released from special channels resembling lacrimal channels envelops the eyeballs of whales, allowing them to see at least something and protecting the eyes from salt.
- It turns out that whales are able to play music, however, a person cannot hear their songs without special equipment. A special call can last forty minutes - with its help, whales lure partners and communicate. The absence of vocal cords does not prevent whales from hatching their breeding roulades.
- Whales are quite intelligent and peaceful, each with its own character and life experience, and not insignificant, considering that some individuals live up to a hundred years. They rarely attack people. The whale always hears ships passing by, but he rarely attacks - unless he feels danger to his own life. For example, wounded whales were often turned into splinters by poaching ships. If there were police in the world of whales, their officers would not take fingerprints, but tail patterns. Each tail is unique and represents a kind of biography of a particular whale. Injuries, eating habits, algae inherent in a particular habitat - all this can tell a lot about a giant.
- The breath of the whale further confirms its strong association with land mammals. He cannot get oxygen from water, as fish do with success, he constantly needs to rise to the surface in order to inhale. That is why the whale prefers to dwell at shallow depths, so that, in turn, it simplifies the work of criminals-whalers. The need to periodically float to the sun and wind prevents the giants from resting normally - a whale even in a dream rises to the surface to take a breath, drawing in about 2000 liters of air on its back with a blowhole. A whale's brain can be asleep while its breathing region is still active. Perhaps this is why an adult whale may not sleep for up to a hundred days.
- Whales sleep close to the surface of the water. This is due to the fact that the body of a whale has a high content of light adipose tissue, which is slightly heavier than water. And so he sinks very slowly into the depths in his sleep. And when after a while it wakes up, it rises again to the surface to breathe in fresh air.
- Fountains in whales result from the respiration of this mammal. When a whale emerges, it needs to free its lungs from the used air. Which he does, exhaling with force into the sky a fountain of the remains of air and water vapor. This is accompanied by a lot of noise that can be heard several hundred meters away.
- Whales rarely dive deeper than two kilometers for food. They feed exclusively on plankton, they do not attack large fish, and in general they do not purposefully hunt. Roughly speaking, having stumbled upon a favorite delicacy, whales simply open their mouths and suck in water along with food, without even bothering to chew. In summer, whales eat almost constantly, increasing their fat mass. Fat is the key to survival in the ocean cold, due to which a whale can survive without food for up to ten months. For example, an adult female, being pregnant, can swim far from the usual places to give birth to a cub, then wait until it gets stronger and embark on a long journey to its native waters, never having eaten during all this time.
- The largest blue whale with an official record was 33 meters in length and weighed 150 tons. True, some sailors say that they have seen forty-meter giants, but, unfortunately, they cannot present evidence. On average, female blue whales grow up to thirty meters, while males can boast of only a modest twenty-two meters.
- The weight of the whale is truly amazing. The tongue alone weighs four tons. It is so huge that fifty people can freely sit on it. The heart, weighing seven hundred kilograms, pumps 8 thousand liters of blood.