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Dolphins Can Hear Frequencies Ten Times Better Than Humans

Each year on April 14th, people across the nation participate in National Dolphin Day.

  • Dolphins are cetacean mammals that are related to whales and porpoises.
  • Ranging is size from 4 ft to up to 30 feet; dolphins are among almost forty species in 17 genera.
  • Found worldwide, they prefer the shallower seas of the continental shelves.
  • As carnivores, their diet consists of mostly fish and squid.
  • Male dolphin – bull
  • Female dolphin – cow
  • Young dolphin – calf
  • Group of dolphins – school or pod
  • Dolphins are known to have acute eyesight both in and out of the water along with having a well-developed sense of touch, with free nerve endings densely packed in the skin.
  • Dolphins can hear frequencies ten times or more above the upper limit of what adult humans can and are capable of making a broad range of sounds using nasal air sacs located just below the blowhole.
  • Living in pods of up to a dozen dolphins, they are highly social animals. Pods do merge in areas where there is an abundance of food, forming superpods, which may exceed 1,000 dolphins. Dolphins can, and do, establish strong bonds within their pods and will stay with injured or ill individuals, even helping them to breathe by bringing them to the surface if needed.
  • You will see the dolphins frequently leaping above the water’s surface. They do this for various reasons; when traveling, jumping saves them energy as there is less friction while in the air, this is known as porpoising.  Some other explanations for leaping include orientation, social display, fighting, non-verbal communication, entertainment and attempting to dislodge parasites.
  • The United States National Marine Mammal Foundation conducted a study that revealed that dolphins, like humans, develop a natural form of type 2 diabetes which may lead to a better understanding of the disease and new treatments for both humans and dolphins.
  • Compared to other animals, dolphins are believed to be very intelligent.
  • The Killer Whale (also known as Orca) is actually a type of dolphin.
  • Bottlenose dolphins are the most common and well known type of dolphin.
  • Dolphins live in schools or pods of up to 12 individuals.
  • Dolphins often display a playful attitude which makes them popular in human culture. They can be seen jumping out of the water, riding waves, play fighting and occasionally interacting with humans swimming in the water.
  • Dolphins use a blowhole on top of their heads to breathe.
  • Dolphins communicate with each other by clicking, whistling and other sounds.
  • Some dolphin species face the threat of extinction, often directly as a result of human behavior. The Yangtze River Dolphin is an example of a dolphin species which may have recently become extinct.
  • Some fishing methods, such as the use of nets, kill a large number of dolphins every year.
  • Since dolphins can’t breathe underwater, they need to swim up to the ocean’s surface to get air. So how do they sleep without drowning? Essentially, dolphins are champion power nappers. Rather than sleep for several hours at a time, they rest one hemisphere of their brain for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, and they take these “naps” several times each day. By resting one hemisphere of their brain at a time, dolphins can continue swimming, breathing, and watching for predators 24/7.
  • To know where they are in relation to other objects and animals, dolphins use echolocation (a.k.a. biological sonar). After emitting a series of high-pitched clicks, they listen for the echoes to bounce off their surroundings. Based on these echoes, dolphins can judge where they are in space and determine the size and shape of nearby objects.
  • Although bottlenose dolphins are the most well-known and recognizable, there are 43 other dolphin species.
  • Dolphins aren’t swimming around with name tags, but every dolphin has its own unique whistle. Scientists believe that dolphins use these signature whistles for life, and female dolphins may even teach their calves their whistles before they’re born. Dolphins use their signature whistles to call out to one another and may be able to remember other dolphins’ whistles after decades apart.


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