I was reading animal news on National Geographic this morning and I was surprised by the number of stories on deep sea creatures. How do we discover these amazing animals and their strange behaviors? Can you imagine the first person to squish themselves in a little metal vessel and go sinking into the depths of the dark, ominous ocean? What were they thinking??!
For example, the vampire squid that can turn itself inside out in order to protect themselves from predators. But this magnificent, non-menacing creature (on average only 30cm in length!) is also being affected by human beings and the pollution we are dumping into their homes. With this knowledge comes grave responsibility. Human beings are affecting the way these creatures live and are being called to preserve and protect them.
Or how about the blind sea urchins who can see with their spines? These spooky, spiky balls that crawl the ocean floor don’t have the traditional photon-recieving eyes like mammals. Instead the spines that cover their body act as sensors for light that hits them and they compare the intensity of the light to get to know their surroundings.
Then there’s the dolphin, the beloved and intelligent creature that even I have had the pleasure of swimming with:). National Geographic recently had a news story about dolphins with Type II diabetes. Apparently these highly evolved creatures are able to flip a switch in their brain, and turn the “disease” (not a disease to them at all) on and off. Dolphins, like humans, are believed to have developed diabetes when their brains grew larger in relation to their bodies. For more about this and other cool animal stories check out National Geographic’s animal news website; http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/animals/.
The story of each of these animals is as spectacular as learning about an alien from another planet. In Sylvan Dell’s Book, Ocean Hide And Seek, Jennifer Kramer takes readers on a similar adventure to meet the wonderful creatures of the deep. The book won the Mom’s Choice Award, and it’s no wonder between the beautiful illustrations and fascinating facts. Credit should be given where it is earned, to the author and illustrators who bring such foreign animals to life everyday.
The best way to get kids excited about learning is to show them something really cool. If you ask me, the ocean is pretty cool. Thrilling and beautiful, full of adventure, and always offering something unexpected.