This is a replica of a Blue Whale dorsal lumbar vertebra. It is nearly 4 feet across. The blue whale is the largest animal that ever lived on Earth. It is also the loudest animal on Earth. These enormous mammals eat tiny organisms, like plankton and krill, which they sieve through baleen. They live in pods (small groups). Blue whales are rorqual whales, whales that have pleated throat grooves that allow their throat to expand during the huge intake of water during filter feeding. Blue whales have 50-70 throat grooves that run from the throat to mid-body. Blue whales grow to be about 80 feet (25 m) long on average, weighing about 120 tons. The largest specimen found was a female 94 feet (29 m) long weighing more 174 tons. The females are larger than males, as with all baleen whales. The largest of the blue whales (150 tons) has a heart that weighs about 1,000 pounds and has 14,000 pounds of blood circulating in its body. The heart is about the size of a Volkswagon bug car. A human could crawl through the aorta (a major blood vessel).
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