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Studying mammals: Return to the water
Some of the most unusual and versatile of all the mammals are the groups that live, feed and reproduce underwater. In this free course, Studying mammals: Return to the water, we will see how these formerly land-based mammals adapted to a return to the water, discussing such challenges as breathing, movement and communication. This is the seventh course in the Studying mammals series.
NOTE: The Studying mammals series is gradually being updated and replaced. You can study an improved freestanding version of this course, titled Aquatic mammals, here:
Course learning outcomes
After studying this course, you should be able to:
- contrast the physical properties of air and water and describe implications of such differences for aquatic mammals
- give examples of the adaptations displayed by aquatic mammals that enable them to hold their breath while submerged for relatively long periods
- describe some of the biological differences between pinnipeds, sirenians and cetaceans
- discuss the importance of communication by sound in aquatic mammals, describe the role of blubber and explain countercurrent heat exchange
- explain the diving response and its significance in natural dives.
First Published: 09/08/2012
You can start this course right now without signing-up. Click on any of the course content sections below to start at any point in this course.
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- Learning outcomes
- 1 The pinnipeds, sirenians and cetaceans
- 2 Living in the water
- 3 The 'diving response'
- 4 The evolution of whales
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About this free course
10 hours study
Level 1: Introductory
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