Unveiling 6 Fascinating Dolphin Facts
DOLPHIN FACTS – Here are six intriguing pieces of information about dolphins that you might not be familiar with.
Dolphins are among the most adored creatures on the planet. And for good reason, their intelligence, endearing vocalizations, friendliness toward humans, and even their enjoyment of surfing make them captivating.
However, beyond these entertaining traits, dolphins showcase remarkable physiological abilities and engage in mind-boggling behaviors. Here are six intriguing facts you might not know about them.
1. Dolphins Call Each Other by Their Names
Dolphins communicate with one another through a repertoire of squeaks, grunts, and clicks. Although the specific meanings of these sounds remain a mystery to marine biologists, certain sounds serve as identifying calls. For instance, the common bottlenose dolphin develops a unique melodic pattern of whistles that allows others to recognize it, even in underwater conditions that distort sounds. Recent research suggests that dolphins imitate the whistles of close companions and family, showcasing a level of sophisticated interaction rarely seen outside the human world.
2. Dolphins Turn Off Half Their Brains to Sleep
Dolphins, being oxygen-dependent mammals in water, employ a unique sleeping strategy. They experience unihemispheric slow-wave sleep, where only one hemisphere of the brain sleeps at a time while the other remains awake at a low level of alertness. This adaptation allows dolphins to maintain control over their breathing. Unlike humans, dolphins get around four hours of slow-wave sleep for each side of the brain in a 24-hour period, mirroring the recommended eight hours of sleep for humans.
3. Dolphins Teach Each Other to Use Tools
Bottlenose dolphins in Shark Bay, Australia, exhibit tool use by using marine sponges to protect their snouts while foraging for small fish. Mothers pass on this foraging technique to their offspring, with females showing more interest in learning than males. Additionally, dolphins in the same region engage in peer-to-peer learning for a technique called “shelling,” where they use giant snail shells to catch and consume prey.
4. Dolphins Have Three Stomachs
Despite their lack of dining manners, dolphins possess a three-chambered stomach designed for efficient digestion. The forestomach stores food, the main stomach handles digestion, and the pyloric chamber completes digestion and regulates passage into the small intestine. This process supports the bottlenose dolphin’s daily intake of 25 to 50 pounds of fish, squid, and crustaceans.
5. Dolphins Have Remarkable Powers of Recuperation
Dolphins exhibit extraordinary recuperative powers, demonstrated by their ability to regenerate tissue after major injuries. Studies have shown that dolphins can recover from significant flesh loss due to shark attacks, regaining their full-body contour within approximately 30 days. This process occurs without signs of distress, suggesting a naturally triggered form of pain relief accompanies their exceptional healing capabilities.
6. The U.S. Military Uses Highly-Trained Dolphins
Since 1959, dolphins have been part of the U.S. Navy’s Marine Mammal Program, serving alongside sea lions. These highly intelligent creatures are trained for tasks such as locating underwater mines using their sonar capabilities and assisting in apprehending unauthorized swimmers. Dolphins have been deployed in actual combat situations, including the Vietnam and Iraq wars, and currently play a role in safeguarding America’s nuclear stockpile at Naval Base Kitsap near Seattle, Washington.
In a previous article, we shared an explanation for why baby elephants instinctively engage in the behavior of s*cking on their trunks.