Although there is no one in the world who does not know these beautiful marine mammals, there are many curiosities about dolphins that most of us ignore and that is worth knowing.
Dolphins belong to the family Delphinidae of the order Cetacea and they are one of the oldest species on the planet. This is shown by numerous studies, including the one related to find of the fossil of a 4-legged cetacean which was a common ancestor of modern whales and dolphins.
They are mammals because they feed their young with milk produced in the mammary glands of their mothers. They also give birth through childbirth and to the surprise of many it is considered smarter than man and elephant.
But we are going to tell you about some peculiarities of these beautiful marine animals, which among other things, breathe air like we do and need to surface every so often to fill their lungs.
Dolphin life is always in a group
One of the curiosities about dolphinsI know you did not know is that there are 30 varieties of this species, which make up a world population of approximately 9 million individuals. Added to this is an estimated 2,000 animals that live in zoos, sanctuaries, recovery centers and water parks around the world.
The dolphins live in groups of 15 to 150 animals, within which there is a clear social hierarchy and where mothers, aunts and grandmothers share the care of the young. This likens them to humans, whales, killer whales, and elephants, which are the other higher mammals.
However, up to 500 or more individuals can be found in fish-rich areas, as was the case with a group of 1000 dolphins swimming together off the coast of California, United States.
Curiosities about dolphins: they prefer wateras shallow
Dolphins are present in tropical or temperate waters from shallow to medium depth, where there is a good supply of fish, their main food. For this reason they can be found on all continents except Antarctica.
Some varieties such as the bottlenose can be found from Africa to the American continent and prefer bays and shallow areas where fish tend to concentrate to reproduce.
They use their voice to communicate and know the environment
Between the curiosities about the dolphins that stand out the most We have to have a sonar or echolocation system based on screeches, screams and other sounds, which when bouncing allow it to detect fish and objects around it.
But they also use it to communicate with each other, implementing a complex language based on a mixture of sounds in high and low frequency. Each large group of dolphins has been found to speak a different «language» than the others, with a wide range of hisses and noises.
These allow them to exchange complex information between individuals. For example, constantly communicate with each other when hunting in groups or doing surveillance against sharks and other predators.
Curiosities about dolphins: usan tools
Although not common, certain species of dolphins have been seen using sponges taken from the seabed to rub the skin of other individuals and remove parasites.
They are also suspected of being used for medicinal purposes and for play, especially among adolescent or infant dolphins.
They are rational animals
The use of tools and verbal communication are not the only curiosities about dolphins that attract the attention of experts. Various studies have shown that are aware of their individuality and can understand their environment, make logical thoughts and draw conclusions in a given situation.
They can also change their behavior if they perceive that this can help them to relate better with other individuals or to achieve a goal. For this reason, they are considered rational animals endowed with great intelligence at a cognitive and social level.
They sleep in a semi-alert state
Unlike most mammals, dolphins sleep in a semi-alert state that allows them to react quickly to the slightest danger. In 1964 the Bottlenose variety (Tursiops truncatus) was found to sleep with one eye open and the other closed.
Years later, it was discovered that the Pacific white dolphins (Lagenorhynchus obliquidens) opened and closed one eye when sleeping, but always on the side where the other members of the pod were.
At birth, the baby dolphin feeds exclusively on its mother’s milk, which is very rich in fat. However, when lactation ceases, it begins to hunt fish, mollusks, octopuses and different types of invertebrates, which will be its diet for the rest of its life.
But one of the curiosities about dolphins related to their diet is that their mouth has a large number of teeth, but they do not chew their prey. Instead, they gobble them whole and can easily ingest prey weighing up to 6 kilograms.
They are very sexual animals
Dolphins are animals with an intense affective life that is manifested in continuous sexual activities with their partners, but also with group sex or even with individuals of the same gender ..
Additionally, young males both in captivity and in the wild have been known to masturbate regularly, something that has only been seen in man and certain species of primates.
They are harmless to man
Although it is common to find in coastal areas inhabited by man and that can weigh from 80 to 250 kilograms, the cases in which wild dolphins have attacked man are very rare.
It is believed that most of these attacks correspond to confusion with potential prey, but when realizing the mistake the dolphin usually leaves the human alone.
However, in the case of captive dolphins, there is a greater number of attacks and experts point out that it corresponds to the high level of stress and a sense of threat in which these mammals live in zoos and dolphinariums.
Regardless of whether these spaces have a pleasant environment, the quality of life of these intelligent mammals is not the same as in the open sea, nor do they enjoy fresh food or the socialization they need to maintain their «sanity.
In fact, it is known that a captive dolphin rarely exceeds 20 years of lifewhile one in the wild can easily live to be 50 years old.
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