Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Clever Manatees

The much-maligned manatee, a slow, wrinkled, and ugly creature is cleverer than it looks. So much for our innate sense of physiognomy! And despite its poor eyesight, it has a highly developed sense of touch, with over 2000 sensory vibrissae (sensory hairs like the whiskers of a cat) on its face and 3000 over the rest of its body. Perhaps this quote from a biologist who studies them sums it up best: "They’re too smart to jump through hoops the way those dumb dolphins do."

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