It occurred to me that, for a website called 2Dolphins, we sure don’t have much dolphin stuff to show for. Well, it seemed like it was high time that we fixed that…
- Dolphins’ breathing is not an automatic part of their nervous system – it’s conscious and voluntary action – which is as though, while you were sitting there in front of the computer reading this, you were also having to remember to inhale and exhale.
- Dolphins sleep about 1/3 of time, as we do, but since they are ‘conscious breathers’, one half of the brain naps while the other remains awake to continue breathing.
- Dolphins’ blowholes are similar to nostrils in other mammals, serving as openings to the respiratory passages.
- Dolphins have belly buttons!
- Dolphins form social groups called “pods.” These average at fewer than 100 members, but frequently travel with other pods, bringing up to 1000 dolphins together.
- Dolphins may be unique among non-human animals in their ability to imitate both sounds heard (vocal mimicry) and behaviors seen (behavioral mimicry).
- Dolphins are the only species known to cooperate or ally with another group or pod. These highly intelligent social behaviors and relationships are unique to mammals – other than humans.
- The family Delphinidae is comprised of 26 species of dolphins and porpoises and includes killer whales and several other small-toothed whales.
- Dolphin mortality from the tuna fishery has been reduced dramatically since the 60’s, when it was estimated that 100,000 or more dolphins were killed in fishing nets each year. Thanks to better fishing practices, there were fewer than 4,000 dolphin deaths caused by tuna nets last year.
Visit SeaWorld Education Department’s Dolphin Information Resources for even more interesting info on dolphins.
Update: Be sure to check out my Dolphin Trivia, Part II post for more interesting scoop on dolphins.