Draw a Gray Whale!
are long, lean swimming machines, and among the sleekest members
of the whale family. Appreciate their design with your own whale art.
A 45-foot (14 m), 35-ton (38 tonnes) gray whale is about the
same size and weight as 10 good-sized elephants. The tail-flukes
alone weigh 300-400 lbs. (136-180 kg). The heart weighs over 285 pounds
(130 kilograms). A large gray whale may carry several hundred pounds
hitchhiking barnacles living firmly attached to its head and body. How
could you draw something this huge? Our clues will
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30 to 50 feet (9 to 15 meters) long, gray whales have streamlined
with narrow, tapered heads that arch downward from a pair of
blowholes. The body tapers at both ends. (See drawing above.)
- The whole
skull of the gray whale is disproportionately large. It takes up
about a fifth of the total body length.
Photo Jane Duden
Photo Caroline Armon
- Two blowholes,
each about 8 inches (20 centimeters) long, are on top of the head.
The blowholes are about
the same distance back from the tip of the nose as the eyes.
Photo Caroline Armon
- Two large
flippers (pectoral fins) are located behind and below the eyes.
Each pectoral fin is four
to five feet (1.2 to 1.5 m) long. The flippers are paddle shaped and
pointed at the tips.
to five shallow grooves furrow the ventral side (underside)
of the throat. The grooves are about 5 feet (1.5 m) in length.
whale's fluke ( tail) is horizontal. It is about 12 feet (3.6 m)
which is roughly equal to about one-fourth of the whale's entire length.
The fluke is pointed at the tips, and deeply notched in the center.
rather like a flattened, pointy valentine.
whales are slate gray, but heavily mottled with white. The white
is due to natural pigmentation,
barnacles, and barnacle scars. Each whale has such a unique skin pigmentation
pattern that individual whales can be identified by these patterns!
measuring tools outdoors or into the hallway and draw
an actual size gray whale to illustrate their relative size.
physical characteristics help whales survive in their habitat? What
other questions does this activity raise about anatomy and adaptations? List
your questions in a journal or on a chart and record answers as
you find them through research.
everyone's finished drawings to reinforce the uniqueness of each
Science Education Standards
- Each plant
or animal has different structures that serve different functions in
growth, survival, reproduction.