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James, in a typical conversation that began with "Smell my finger!" and ended with "Pardon me while I kiss the sky!" posed the following intriguing question, which answer I do not know.

Do whales have mucus in their blowholes? (Translated from the original James.) And I'd add, do they sneeze? Do they get stuffed up? Is the cloud of spray from a whale spouting in part whalesnot? I sort of suspect that the sheer power of the ejecting air would render any stuffiness moot, but now I'm curious...

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Talk about random thoughts :)

They presumably have mucous in their blowholes, to lubricate the mucous membranes of the respiratory system-- this is just an ejumacated guess.

I know they can't "sneeze" as a reflex like most other mammals. They sort of cough at best, and it's not all that explosive of a purging.

There is probably not enough mucous in the exhalation to account for the cloud, that's mostly water vapor in the lungs and surface water from around the blowhole valve.

Todays inane factoids brought to you by the number 5 and my moderately useless biology degree. Well, I guess it's not entirely useless, I had fun learning these inane factoids, and random comments about newt mating behavior are terribly good conversation starters.

*L* good to know I'm not the only one around here with a moderately useless biology degree who only brings it out for inane facts and strange conversational pieces :)

(can't remember anything about the blowhole on this end though. Think the only thing the professor put on that exam about whales was actually the baleen and the baculum actually ...)

One of the profs at my alma mater had a baculum walking stick if I recall correctly. This was hearsay though, I never saw it and it may have been a transfer student talking about a previously-attended university.

Talk about a good conversation piece though...lol

Probably not, but I'm going to tell you anyhow.

A baculum is apparently the penis-bone that many animals have - including, apparently, whales.

As a walking stick... oh my.

*L* would be a good conversation piece indeed.

My professor put it on an exam where many different specimens (mostly bones) were put throughout the lab and you had to answer questions at each.

First question was something along the lines of what type of animal is this from, various classification questions & other more specific questions. Then he put a 'bonus question' on that one asking why half the class would be cringing as they looked at this specimen. *G*

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