What do we really know about Dolphins besides what we see or hear on TV? Well to answer that question I would have to start out by saying they are remarkably fascinating creatures!
Dolphins are highly intelligent mammals and belong to the toothed whale family, which also includes orcas and pilot whales. You can find Dolphins worldwide mostly in shallow seas of the continental shelves, but there are five species that live in rivers around the world too.
Dolphins are carnivores that consume a variety of prey including fish, squid, and crustaceans. Did you know like bats, Dolphins use echolocation to navigate and hunt, by bouncing high-pitched sounds off objects, and listening for the echoes? But a dolphin’s sonar is far superior to a bat or human made sonar.
The coloration varies, but they are generally grey in color with darker backs then the rest of their body. There are pink dolphins and they’re known as the Amazon river dolphins, an interesting fact about these dolphins is they have an un-fused neck vertebrae which means they can turn their heads 180 degrees!
These mammals sometimes have trouble adapting to new ways of life living in captivity. For example, one of the major causes of death among captive dolphins is suicide. When dolphins can hunt for fish themselves it does put them into shock being fed fish pieces from a human. They kill themselves many different ways from not eating at all to smashing their heads into walls.
On a lighter note because dolphins and humans are both mammals and share a similar skeletal structure, more than dolphins do with other sea creatures, scientists think dolphins are able to recognize humans using this sense. Dolphins appear to be fascinated with pregnant women, because they can sense the embryo inside them! How cool is that!
Did you know killing a Dolphin in ancient Greece was considered sacrilegious and was punishable by death! The Greeks called them “sacred fish,” and the sun god Apollo assumed the form of a dolphin when he founded his oracle at Delphi in Mount Parnassus.
Dolphins don’t breathe automatically they breath when they tell them selves to. They need to think about every time they take a breath, if they went fully to sleep like we do they wouldn’t be able to breathe and would die. That is why the dolphin sleeps with only half of their brain at a time, and take turns sleeping with different sides of its brain.
The brains of most mammals have a pretty smooth surface, while the brains of humans are extremely convoluted. The dolphins’ brain is even more folded than humans and was this way millions of years before the first appearance of humans. To show you how smart these mammals are scientist measure intelligence by the number of brain folds! That’s not all, dolphins also can understand as many as 60 words that can make up to 2000 sentences and show signs of self awareness.
Unlike most animals in the wild, dolphins spend a lot of time enjoying sex and foreplay that is not determined by being in season or the natural urge to procreate. Dolphins, and Bonobos are the only animals other than humans to have sex for pleasure!
Dolphins are highly social animals that live in pods or schools of up to a dozen individuals. Dolphins establish strong social bonds; they will stay with injured or ill individuals even helping them to breath by bringing them to the surface if needed. Just like they do with humans that have been caught in the water and seem to be drowning the dolphin goes to help. These special creatures have been seen protecting swimmers from sharks by swimming circles around the swimmers, or charging the shark to make them go away.
Dolphins are very caring and compassionate mammals that deserve our utmost respect; the most dangerous enemy of a dolphin is humans so let’s change that and protect them like they have been known to protect humans.