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It's quite confusing to me, why do sea mammals die on land, but also die from drowning if they couldn't reach the sea surface to breath?

Excuse my ignorance but I am really confused!

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    $\begingroup$ Did you try finding an answer? (Hint: Respiratory organ of terrestrial vs aquatic mammals?) Questions about elementary biological concepts are considered off-topic if those do not show prior research on Bio Stack Exchange. See this policy to learn more. $\endgroup$
    – Tyto alba
    Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 8:10
  • $\begingroup$ @Tytoalba I did search before asking, but google keeps showing results of mass sea mammals deaths.. try yourself and see :) $\endgroup$
    – Him
    Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 8:17
  • $\begingroup$ About why they die on land, this question has an answer here. $\endgroup$
    – Tyto alba
    Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 9:06
  • $\begingroup$ I believe dehydration, stress, starvation from not being able to move (except for seals and their ilk) and for large mammals, being crushed by their own bodyweight is the issue on land (air being in plentiful supply) $\endgroup$
    – user5011
    Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 13:45

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Mammals use lungs as their respiratory system. These animals in the process of evolution left land and started to live in the water, they developed organs that are used to swim. The shape of body also changed to reduce the resistance of water. In spite of all this they didn't developed gills.

Lungs can help in respiration only in air. So the mammals have to come above water in order to take air. You correctly have noticed that these animals die if they can't reach air, i.e. they die of drowning.

But one thing I want to mention is that they don't need to reach land in order to take breath. They just need to swim up to the surface of water for this purpose.

Anyway, I think you got the point. Feel free to ask if you have further confusion on this topic. I shall explain more if needed.

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Biology.SE! Please add some references to your answer. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 13:47
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    $\begingroup$ Thank you so much for guiding me. I shall surely add some references. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 13:52

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