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Introduction to Mammals

<p><strong>Fig. 6.1.</strong> Three Florida manatees (<em>Trichechus manatus latirostris</em>), Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, Florida</p><br />

Mammals are a group of vertebrate animals. Many of the animals most familiar to humans, such as rats, cats, dogs, pigs, sheep, and cattle, are mammals (Fig. 6.1). Humans are mammals as well. In this unit, we will investigate the biology of these diverse and successful animals.

Ocean Literacy Principles

Principle 5: The ocean supports a great diversity of life and ecosystems.


Ocean Literacy Fundamental Concept: Ocean life ranges in size from the smallest virus to the largest animal that has lived on Earth, the blue whale. (OLP 5a)


Ocean Literacy Fundamental Concept: Some major groups are found exclusively in the ocean. The diversity of major groups of organisms is much greater in the ocean than on land. (OLP 5c)


Ocean Literacy Fundamental Concept: Ocean biology provides many unique examples of life cycles, adaptations and important relationships among organisms (such as symbiosis, predator-prey dynamics and energy transfer) that do not occur on land. (OLP 5d)


To build an understanding of how the ocean supports a diversity of living organisms and ecosystems, it’s important to learn about the biology of mammals.


These concepts will be explored in this unit through the following activities and investigations:


Activity: Identifying Cetaceans

Develop your own dichotomous key to identify various cetacean species.


Activity: Measuring Whale Dimensions

Use dimensional scaling to model how marine mammal biologists measure the size of large marine mammals in the wild.


Activity: Insulation in Marine Mammals

Investigate the role of marine mammal blubber and fur in maintaining internal body temperature.


Activity: Whale Feeding Strategies

Investigate the various feeding strategies used by mysticete and odontocete cetaceans.

Question Set

Question Set: Behavior

Table of Contents:

Exploring Our Fluid Earth, a product of the Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG), College of Education. University of Hawaii, 2011. This document may be freely reproduced and distributed for non-profit educational purposes.