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Discussion 12 to Talk Back 88
The Whale's Blowhole

by: JT

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It had been my intention to leave this discussion to others to re-open if anyone wanted, but a brief article in a recent edition of Wired reminded me of an earlier comment by Michael Horn. In Discussion 3 to this exchange Michael wrote:

...why do whales have blow holes on top of their heads (I know it is not really on their heads but it's close enough)? Is this some random freak of nature that caught on like evolution believes or was this best design?

In the August 2009 edition of Wired, David Wolman lists the 10 Worst Evolutionary Designs*; and number one on his list is:

  1. Sea mammal blowhole. Any animal that spends appreciable time in the ocean should be able to extract oxygen from water. Enlarging the lungs and moving a nostril to the back of the head is a poor work-around.

Best design by an intelligent creator? Or a poor work-around arising out of evolutionary adaptation? I think you can make up your own minds.



* 10 Worst Evolutionary Designs by David Wolman, Wired, August 2009, p 26