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Showing posts from July, 2013

Marine Mammals

Mammals are the most obvious group of animals on land, but they are relatively rare in marine environments. There are just a few types of mammals whose bodies have become specialized for marine life. Among these are the cetaceans, a group that includes whales and dolphins, porpoises, and dugongs.
Marine Mammal Anatomy Mammals are warmblooded vertebrates that have hair and breathe air. All females of this group have milk-producing mammary glands with which to feed their young. Mammals also have a diaphragm that pulls air into the lungs and a four-chambered heart for efficient circulation of blood. The teeth of mammals are specialized by size and shape for particular uses.
Marine mammals are subdivided into four categories: cetaceans, animals that spend their entire lives in the ocean; sirenians, herbivorous ocean mammals; pinnipeds, web-footed mammals; and marine otters. Animals in all four categories have the same characteristics as terrestrial mammals, as well as some special adaptat…