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Discovery Magazine 8/1/2009

Can a Blue Whale Fit an Elephant on its Tongue?

Dear Digger Doug,

My brother read somewhere that a blue whale can
fit an elephant on its tongue. I couldn’t really believe it. Is it true?

—Faith, Alberta, Canada

 

Dear Faith,

 

I am glad to hear from you, and to answer this fine question. Blue whales are the largest mammals (you already know a lot about mammals from reading this issue of Discovery), and also the largest animals on Earth. A blue whale can weigh 200 tons, and take in 50 tons of water in one gulp. The blue whale can eat about four tons of krill (tiny, shrimp-like ocean animals) in a day. The blue whale is famous for its size. 

The blue whale does not eat elephants, but it is interesting to think about whether the surface of the blue whale’s tongue is big enough so that an elephant could stand on it. The tongue of the blue whale certainly can weigh as much as a young elephant. Depending on the particular whale and elephant, an adult elephant could fit on the whale’s tongue. Or, you and about 50 friends could stand on the blue whale’s tongue. However, I don’t recommend you try this—especially if the whale is still alive!

The blue whale is a reminder of the majesty of God’s creation, and His special planning for the balance we see in ocean life.



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