Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Some Questions from Kids

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Some Questions from Kids

Article excerpt

Q. Why is Venus cloudy?

A. Most of the gases that the planets have in their atmospheres were released through volcanos. On Venus, a lot of carbon dioxide was sent into the atmosphere and held there by gravity. The surface of Venus was hot, and the atmosphere of carbon dioxide held in all the sun's heat, too. In other words, Venus has a severe greenhouse effect. When Earth's atmosphere was forming, there was lots of carbon dioxide, but the Earth was cooler and plants began to grow. The plants converted much of the carbon dioxide into oxygen.

Q. Why do pigs like to play in the mud?

A. If there's mud around, most pigs will want to play in it. That's not because they like to be dirty - quite the opposite. Pigs are actually pretty clean animals. Because they have short necks, they have trouble cleaning their bodies, but pigs often rub against other pigs or some other object to clean themselves. Pigs, however, don't have any sweat glands in their skin. This is why they play in the mud - to cool themselves off.

Q. Is the tongue of a giraffe black?

A. A giraffe's tongue can range in color from pink to a dark, grayish red. And it can be 12 inches long! From a distance, the tongue can look almost black. The giraffe uses its tongue for pulling twigs and leaves off trees. It also uses the tongue for lapping up water. The giraffe doesn't use its tongue for cleaning its skin, however. It has very short hair and almost never lays down, so nature takes care of the cleaning.

Q. Why don't octopuses have bones?

A. The octopus is a mollusk, and most mollusks have either an outside shell or some internal shell. For example, the internal shell of a squidlike mollusk called the cuttlefish is commonly found in bird cages as a plaything for birds! At any rate, the octopus is able to camouflage itself by changing colors, and also it can swim really fast. …

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