The Atlantic

Why Whales, Seals, and Penguins Like Their Food Cold

In frigid waters, their ability to keep their bodies warm gives them an edge over sharks and fish.
Source: AFP

When ecologists watch nature documentaries, sometimes they get ideas for research projects. John Grady, an ecologist from Michigan State University, kept seeing those inevitable scenes in which shoals of hapless fish are demolished by predators, and thinking about the differences between the cold-blooded killers—the tuna, the cod, and other big fish—and the warm-blooded ones. With a group of colleagues, he started tracking down their whereabouts, and soon found a surprising geographical trend.

The warm-blooded predators—the whales, the seals, the penguins of the world—bucked an almost universal pattern. Most

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