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Baby Swimming

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nailit | 19:15 Wed 10th Jul 2019 | Science
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It seems apparent that new born human babies have an inbuilt instinct for swimming.
So why do we therefore have to teach our youngsters to swim a few years later?
And why would a land-dwelling animal have an instinct to swim in the first place?
Thanks.

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My understanding is that babies will automatically avoid taking in water when submersed so it is a good time to get them accustomed to being in water - I don’t think the actual ability to swim develops until later
"It seems apparent that new born human babies have an inbuilt instinct for swimming.
So why do we therefore have to teach our youngsters to swim a few years later?"

Because a "few years later" they are no longer "new born" and that instinct has gone.

"And why would a land-dwelling animal have an instinct to swim in the first place? "

it adapts itself to land living but spends it's first nine months in fluid and with "gills" for the first couple of months.
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//it adapts itself to land living but spends it's first nine months in fluid and with "gills" for the first couple of months//

And just why would a creature that is destined to live its life on land develop gills?
Just curious.
It may be just that evolution is very slow, but very young babies usually try to move by making swinning movements before they can crawl, as that's what they have been used to.
Because, it's basic development is shared with fishes and other vertebrates....the fishes keep there's but humans do not need them and they become vestigial ( not needed on the cruise).
Took my daughter and grand kids swimming from 2 months of age. They never lost the ability to swim and hold their breath. Also they never had the toddler fear of water
Do the gills disappear totally, sqad? Or is there still some sign of them after? X
The gills become pharyngeal clefts from which the jaw bones and other structures in the neck develop. Occasionally this development of neck structures is incomplete and pits or cysts can be present as remnants.
Unusual, but do occasionally present.
Thank you x
Some say there are a few 'locals' in remote quiet villages in Cornwall who are known to have gills .. a few have webbed feet as well !
We will have evolved from aquatic animals. And it's good for survival.

I don't think one has to teach children, it's just that they've learnt to fear and need help overcoming it. Once you know that you breath and could drown, you're less keen on being immersed in water, especially deeper than you're tall.
Lots of things get developed because ancestors needed them, and there's no intelligent designer demanding they don't form any more. Evolution will randomly change things, but only those changes with survival benefits (long enough to raise kids) stick around. Nothing deliberately clears up that which is no longer needed. It it goes, it goes, if it stays, it stays, if it mutates into something else useful, luck has made it so much the better.
I may be confused about what is an instinct and what is a reflex but is the diving response in wee ones not a reflex?
Babys can't swim... just so you know.

They can float and avoid breathing in water, especially when submerged but don't expect to drop a baby in the bath and it start doing breast stroke.
Regarding gills, we have the foundation for them, but never develop gills. Instead we develop a structured jaw. It's not similar to why men have nipples.
A baby will still need to breathe sometime soon.
It spent 9 months holding it's breath, so it's well practiced.
Very informative replies sqad, thanks . :’)
the umbilical cord of course is how a baby gets oxygen. Usually in fetus mode a baby has fluid in the lungs.
Yes, but the umbilical cord will be cut or the placenta will detach from the mother. Either way, the oxygen to the baby will run out.

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