The survival tactics of polar animals

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Emperor Penguins

Emperor penguins are able to dive to depths of 500 meters (1,640 feet) for up to 20 minutes with no adverse effects to their respiration or blood pressure. They also possess the ability to adapt to these conditions in different ways. While diving, they are able to lower their heartbeats from 200 a minute to only 60, thus allowing them to store extra myoglobin.

How Can Penguins Hold Their Breath for So Long?

Myoglobin is a protein present at high levels in these birds’ muscles. These myoglobin proteins bind to themselves high numbers of oxygen molecules. In other words, the penguin conserves the oxygen it will need not in the air held in its lungs, but directly inside its muscles.  This lets penguins swim underwater for long periods and to dive as deep as they wish, without relying on the breathed-in air held in their lungs..


Why Do They Not Suffer from the Bends?

Penguins are able to continue swimming even when the oxygen in their blood drops to the lowest levels. Human beings suffer from the bends under such conditions. The level in question is 20 mm Hg for penguins and 25 mm Hg for humans. However, scientists have been unable to explain how penguins can to overcome this in the water without being affected by low levels of oxygen in the blood.

How Can They Go Without Food for 65 Days?

Male penguins have a secret that lets them survive without eating anything for 65 days, until the females arrive to take of the young in order to protect their eggs: they possess a structure capable of blocking their digestive systems..

Their Magnificent Diving Costumes

Adult penguins on the ice eat nothing for months until after they shedd their coats in the summer. All their old feathers are shed, and new ones emerge from underneath. The result is a windproof, insulated and waterproof diving suit that prevents  cold—whether from icy wind or frigid water— reaching their skin. The most striking feature of  their new plumage is that it appears just when the penguins need it most— when the time to migrate has arrived.

Brief Facts from the Pole

In the middle of winter, daylight at the North Pole last for only three hours. In order to protect themselves from the freezing cold during the other 21 hours, penguins huddle up against one another in the dark.
By huddling up to one another, the male penguins are able to raise their body temperatures to up to 20° C (68 °F).

Since solitary penguins are unable to benefit from other penguins’ body heat, they cannot survive in temperatures any lower than -10° C (14 °F)

Under Such Conditions, How Can Penguins Walk for Many Kilometers with Such Large Bodies and Short Legs?

In order to conserve energy when they walk, penguins waddle from side, to side, which tires their muscles less. In this way, at the end of every step, they store up enough momentum for the next. If they employed a normal gait, their short legs would force them to expend twice as much energy as any other animal their own size. However, penguins exert the most energy only when they start to walk and when they want to stop.

These features of penguins are some of the greatest proofs of Allah’s affection and compassion for living things. Walking in such a way as to conserve energy by using the conversion of kinetic and potential energy and back again is something no bird can learn on its own. No penguin can know about potential-kinetic energy conversion and develop such a gait as to take advantage of this, unless so inspired by Allah.

Allah’s sovereignty over living things is revealed as follows in one verse of the Qur’an:

"I put my trust in Allah, My Lord and your Lord! There is not a moving creature, but He hath grasp of its fore-lock. Verily, it is my Lord that is on a straight Path.”  (Surah Hud, 56)

How Do Seals Locate Their Prey in the Dark?

A seal locates its prey without using its eyes by following traces that its quarry leaves behind it in the water. These traces, invisible to the naked eye, are hydrodynamic waves set up by the movement of the prey. Just by following these traces, a seal is able to catch its prey. Thanks to this ability, seals have no difficulty in hunting in the dark or in murky water.

Secret Whale Feeding Techniques

The cold waters of the North Pole are actually very rich in nutrients—for which reason, whales deliberately migrate to these from warmer waters. During their time near the Pole they consume small, shrimp-like fish known as krill, and store up nutrients in their blubber.

When a pod of whales locates a school of fish or krill, they act in unison. When the fish sense danger and start diving to the bottom, the whales dive down even deeper, en masse, and immediately begin exhaling air bubbles, which form a kind of stockade or barrier cage around the fish. These bubbles that spread around the fish and stop them getting away form a round wall.  Then all the whales need to do is to open their mouths as they begin returning to the surface through the middle of this ring. Thanks to this planning and joint action, they are easily able to engulf their prey.

For all this astonishing behavior, there is only one explanation: These birds and marine mammals behave in accordance with the inspiration of Allah, their Creator.


2008-07-08 20:47:35
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