Big, Big Blue

By Tom Johnson

Oct 26, 2009 12:16pm

ABC's Stu Schutzman from New York:

The title lyric of the old Billie Holiday standard asks the question “Am I Blue”? if you’re a Blue whale, the largest creature ever to inhabit the earth, the answer is…sometimes.  Blue whales only appear true blue under water, grayish on the surface. “Huh?," you ask, “what’s this all about?”  Well, just after our editorial meeting this morning, someone, out of the blue, blurted out “Real fact” #768 from his Snapple bottle cap (diet lemonade for the record). “Most elephants,” said the cap, “weigh less than the tongue of a blue whale.”  We all gasped, that can’t be. “How can a whale’s tongue be bigger than an elephant (which can weigh as much as 14,000 pounds)”? The answer — it is.  A little research uncovered some astounding facts about this amazing animal.

Here goes: “Blue whales are the largest animals ever known to have lived on Earth,” according to National Geographic.  They can tip the scales at as much as 200 tons, grow to more than 100 feet long and live to be 100 years old.

Baby blues gain about 200 pounds a day mostly on mother’s milk after mom puts away more than 4 tons of krill(tiny shrimp) a day.  A Blue’s tongue could support 50 humans (although that might pose some serious logistical challenges). A Blue whale’s arteries are wide enough for one small human to crawl though.  A Blue’s heart is bigger than a car.

When Blue’s get ticked off they can scream really loud, up to 188 decibels, considerably louder than a 747.  And Blue whales have reason to be ticked off.  In the last century or so, their numbers have dwindled to near distinction — from 100s of thousands to mere thousands.  These creatures have no natural predators save man and pollution and both continue to thin the herd.  Reason enough to be “blue."

You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus