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Something is lurking in the water.
Do you see it?
Close calls like this
happen with whales more often
than you might expect.
And although the people in these videos
got away relatively unscathed,
there's no denying that they were just meters
away from being a whale's lunch.
If you've never seen a whale up close,
it's hard to comprehend just how monstrous
they can really be.
To put it in perspective, the blue whale
is the largest animal on the planet!
Its tongue alone weighs as
much as an elephant, and
it can fit anywhere between
400 and 500 people in its mouth.
But we wouldn't have to
worry about one of these guys
swallowing us anytime soon,
because their anatomy
makes it nearly impossible.
Instead, we should be more concerned
with their smaller cousins, sperm whales.
In 1891,
reports emerged that a man had
been swallowed by one of these whales,
and although he lived to tell the tale,
he would never be the same again…
According to the story,
James Bartley was swallowed
when a whale attacked his ship,
and he wasn't retrieved until the following day.
When the crew found and killed the whale,
they quickly brought it on
board their ship and cut it open,
revealing an unconscious
but very alive James Bartley.
His face and arms were bleached white,
and he was blind,
all thanks to the stomach acids of the whale.
However, as the years went by,
people started poking holes in this story
and questioned whether James had
really been swallowed by a whale.
I mean, wouldn't the stomach acids do
more damage than just bleaching his skin?
Well, with the power of science,
we took a closer look,
and we quickly discovered that if
you get swallowed by a whale,
coming back out with shiny white skin
would be the least of your worries.
Okay, so the first thing
you'd have to worry about
once you were swallowed would
be getting shredded to pieces
by the sperm whale's impressive set of teeth.
Each tooth is approximately
20 centimeters long,
that's about the length
of an average chef knife,
and whales have anywhere
from 40 to 50 of these.
Let's say you're lucky enough
to make it past all of them,
next you'd begin your descent down the throat.
Not only would it be dark and slimy down here,
but you'd also find it hard to breathe
due to the lack of oxygen
and an increase in methane gas.
As the whale's throat muscles constricted
in and out to help force you down,
you'd also start to feel hydrochloric
acid beginning to eat away at your skin.
I know what you're thinking,
we just got into this whale, and
James Bartley's story
already seems pretty fishy.
Well, you're not wrong, but what
would be the fun in stopping now???
So, next you'd be dropped into the first,
and largest, of the whale's four stomachs.
You'd probably be in there for a while, but
the bright side is you might have some light
in the form of a bioluminescent squid
or two being noshed on after your arrival;
sperm whales love the neon flying squid.
You'd better enjoy this
brief light show, because
after this you'd just be tossed
from one stomach to the next,
with the acids breaking
down almost all of your body
until you're just a bunch of bones
being unceremoniously
ejected from the whale's anus.
So yeah, it's pretty safe to say that
there's no way you could
be swallowed whole by a whale
and live to tell the tale.
Sorry, James. You may have been
able to fool people in the 1890s,
but we're on to you now.
As vast as they are and as
monstrous as they might seem to us,
whales actually have
no interest in eating humans.
And if they could talk, they would
probably make a point of telling us that.
But that's a topic for another WHAT IF.

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