Dissecting a dead whale, a marine biologist could see that it spends its
life in the ocean, lives at least part time in very cold water, and migrates
long distances. How? By understanding how whale bodies and behaviors are
adapted to habitat and food requirements.
In this lesson, we'll look closely at gray whales, from head to toe.
Remember: There's always a WHY behind WHAT you see. So whenever you
see an unusual
behavior or body part, ask yourself WHY. Click on each whale-body section
below to explore a gray whale's adaptations. Then play our Match Game:
fill out a chart to see what you would
need to add to your own body to live like a gray whale!
This! Match Game [Print student
The most important part of a human body is the brain, which allows us
to solve a lot of problems and adjust to a lot of different environments
without needing changes in our whole bodies. After you study a whale's adaptations
from head to tail, think of some human inventions and how they could help
us live like gray whales.
Inventions and Gray Whale Adaptations!
Match the whale?s abilities with a human invention that allows people
to do what whales do because of natural adaptations.
To learn more,
see: Adaptations: Fit for Survival.
Swim deep down in the ocean without being crushed by high pressure
Know when it's time to migrate
Filter tiny bits of food out of huge gulps of water
Stay underwater for many minutes without breathing
Travel long distances without stopping
Migrate long distances without getting lost
Keep warm in icy water
Propel body forward in water
Drink ocean water
Science Education Standards
have basic needs. Organisms can survive only in environments in which
their needs can be met.
- Each plant
or animal has different structures that serve different functions in
growth, survival, reproduction.
systems at all levels of organization demonstrate the complementary
nature of structure and function.
- All organisms
must be able to obtain and use resources, grow, reproduce, and maintain
stable internal conditions in a constantly changing external environment.
adaptations include changes in structures, behaviors, or physiology
that enhance survival and reproductive success in a particular environment.