For my first good deed of 2011, I helped my sister grade her ocean life reports. First, I suggested we just give them all A's and go shopping, but she is a stickler for going by the rubric. She teaches middle school science and math. Let us have a moment of silence in her honor right now.
I sort of like helping her with this chore now and then because I always learn something new, plus middle school kids write some pretty funny stuff!
I learned two new things that I didn't know before and my sister verified to be true. For one thing I learned that the green sea turtle has non-retractible limbs. I should have known this because I happen to be somewhat of a sea turtle expert. I have stood in the sand, not three feet from a gigantic turtle as she laid and subsequently buried her eggs. Then I walked beside her as she lumbered back into the sea. It was a life changing experience.
Also, new to my vocabulary, due to the report grading event, is the grouping word “smack.” If one needs to speak of a group of jellyfish, they are called a smack. If you should ever stumble into a smack of jellyfish, believe me you will speak of the experience.
The following “facts” were taken straight from the reports. They may need to be verified, as I am not sure of their authenticity.
“The gray whale visits many different places, but the view under water doesn't change much.”
“An angler fish mates for eight days and then the male just attaches himself to the female until his whole body is absorbed by her. Now that's what I call a close relationship.”
“The hammerhead shark doesn't have much of a family life.”
“Sea lions sniff poop to see if it is their baby.”
“Sea anemones will close up its tentacles if you touch it and then it will starve to death, so if you see one you should resist the urge to touch it with your hand. Just use one or two fingers.”
“Once a bottle-nose dolphin saved a baby humpback whale and took it back to its mother.”
“A killer whale eats warm blooded animals to feel warm on the inside.”
“The crown of thorns starfish eats mollusks, which is gross to us but good to them. Also, the female gets up on her tippy-toes on a rock to lay her eggs.”
“If you are in the middle of a pod of narwal whales you will get deaf because they are so loud.”
“Male chimeras have retractable sexual appendages on their foreheads. You can give a man a fish and he might eat it for a meal, but if you show him a raw chimera, he may never eat fish for real!”
“If a shark accidentally bites down on a rock and breaks off all of his teeth they will soon grow back again.”
“Usually, reproducing is all a penguin thinks about.”
“A baby hammerhead can't swim when it is born because it's a sack.”
“Seahorses meet each morning to do the tango – seahorse style!”
Now that's something I'd like to see.