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How do new born whales know what to do?
Question Date: 2011-04-20
Answer 1:

Newborn whales have instincts to tell them to go to the surface, nurse from their mothers, and follow their mothers. Instincts are sort of behavior programs that tell an animal what to do. They start learning from their mothers and the environment right away, but there are some things they need to be able to do right away.

There's a sort of trade off between learning and instincts. Some animals, such as fish, don't learn much. They do almost everything from instinct. Other animals have very few instincts and have to learn almost everything. As long as things don't change, instincts work pretty well. The down side is that they don't give much flexibility, so if things change, you're stuck with a behavior that doesn't work very well.

Animals with short lives tend to have a lot of instincts. Animals with long lives tend to have to learn most of their behavior. Why do you think that is?

Thanks for asking,

Answer 2:

New born whales know what to do because they are born with instincts.For whales, swimming is just as natural as walking is for mammals on land. For example, new born goats can immediately get on their feet and start walking around right when they're born. It is thought goats have evolved to be able to do this because it helps the babies avoid getting caught by predators. Likewise, baby whales must know how to swim when they're born so they can get away from predators and do other things, like find milk from their mothers to nurse.

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