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Thermal Physics: Elephant Seals Essay

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A vertebrate is any animal with a backbone. An example of vertebrates are Elephant Seals and Minks. Elephant Seals are amphibious mammals living in the Antarctic waters. They can adapt to both land and sea. On contrary, Minks are also semiaquatic mammals that can be found in North America, mainly in the forested areas that are near streams, rivers, or ponds. Although the Elephant Seals and the Minks are both mammals, both animals will have differences and similarities with how their body functions. This means both animals would have different or similar locomotion, feeding and digestive systems, and respiratory and circulatory systems.

Locomotion allows an organism to search for food, escape from predators and to find a mate for reproduction. Elephant Seals and Minks have very different locomotion. To begin with, the Elephant Seals can move on land and in water. While in water, Elephant Seals need streamlined typed bodies for it to move through the water efficiently with very little drag. Elephant Seals have flippers and fins to help propel them through the water. In addition, their streamlined shape is created by their blubber. The Elephant Seals move through the water by moving their hind flippers side to side, while their front flippers stay motionless. However, their front flippers are used for turning and manoeuvring, but only at slow speeds. On land, however, the Elephant Seals use their front flippers to throw their body forward, undulating them up and down, while their back flippers drag with the body.

On the other hand, the Minks can also move on land and in water. In water, Minks use their hind legs and tail to move. In addition, Minks also have webbed feet and a thick tail to help them efficiently...


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...e of them is their blubber. The blubber is basically the layer of fat underneath the skin and it reduces heat loss while in water. Elephant Seals can also change blood flow one way or another because they have shunts in their circulatory system. Elephant Seals can push blood away from the surface of their body to its core and organs to keep their body warm.

Furthermore, the Mink has also made adaptations to help keep their body warm while in water. Their veins and arteries are closely packed for it to retain heat.

In addition, both animals can slow down their circulation system by making their heart rate slower. This enables both animals to keep the oxygen in their bodies for longer, so they do not have to surface for more air.

Thus, it is clearly evident that the Elephant Seals and the Minks both have differences and similarities with their body system.





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