What is the fastest marine mammal?

The 2012 Summer Olympics are less than 10 days away and with this comes lots of intense swimming competitions (among other events). This got me wondering, if I lined up various species of marine mammals which one would be taking home the gold? Check out the average top speeds of 10 species in the graph below. (Now time to get the image of an orca wearing a Speedo out of my mind.)

Resources:

1. http://www.speedofanimals.com/water
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porpoise
3. http://marinebio.org/oceans/marine-mammals.asp

14 fascinating facts about the blue whale

Blue Whale

  1. A toddler can fit into a blue whale’s blowhole. The spray can reach up to 30 feet high.
  2. The blue whale’s scientific name is Balaenoptera musculus.
  3. Blue whales live in all oceans of the world.
  4. A blue whale’s tongue weighs more than an elephant.
  5. Blue whales are the loudest animal on Earth reaching up to 188 decibel.
  6. A blue whale’s heart weighs up to 2,000 pounds. Their heart can be the size of a Mini Cooper.
  7. Blue whales are the fastest growing animal or plant on Earth.
  8. Blue whales can be up to 100 feet long. That is about the length of a NBA basketball court.
  9. A medium sized dog can comfortably walk through a blue whale’s arteries.
  10. Blue whales can live up to 90 years in the wild.
  11. Blue whales look blue underwater, but gray above the surface of the water.
  12. Blue whales tend to sleep in the middle of the day.
  13. Blue whales eat krill.
  14. Blue whales can swim up to 30 miles per hour.

Do you have another great question? Email info@beachchairscientist.com and let us know what you always ponder while digging your toes in the sand!

What is the biggest fish in the sea?

Picture taken at Georgia Aquarium, pictured is...

Image via Wikipedia

The whale shark is the biggest fish on the planet. The largest whale shark measures about 66 feet long and 74,957 pounds.

Not to be confused with the blue whale, a mammal, which is the largest animal on the planet. The largest blue whale measured about 110 feet and up to 400,000 pounds!

The whale shark got its name because the shark’s mouth is shaped just like baleen whales. Baleen whales and whale sharks both munch on krill. For being the largest fish in the sea the whale shark is surprisingly affable to divers and known as a relaxed fish.

How are ‘whale sharks’ and ‘whales’ different?

Whales are mammals, just like people, and must breathe air. Dolphins, seals, porpoises, otters (and some people say, polar bears) are mammals that live in the ocean (ie., marine mammals).

Another difference is that mammals raise their young. Whale sharks give live birth like mammals, but, move on right after and don’t raise them. Most other fish do lay eggs.

Fish also have gills to breathe underwater, unlike mammals that must come up to the surface of the ocean and breathe air.

Have another great question for me? Just shoot me an email at info@beachchairscientist.com. Thanks!