Home Animal 30 Interesting Dolphin Facts – Part I

30 Interesting Dolphin Facts – Part I

by Sankalan Baidya
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30 Interesting Dolphin Facts

Dolphins are pretty funny creatures and they are best known for their intelligence and extremely friendly nature. From evolutionary aspect, these creatures are found to have some extraordinary powers that we humans can only dream of. We are pretty sure that this article tiled 60 interesting dolphin facts will leave you amazed and wondering and you will find yourself asking – ‘how the hell is that possible?’ So, let’s start!

Interesting Dolphin Facts: 1-10

1. There are a total of 42 different species of dolphins. Of these, 32 are marine dolphins, 6 are porpoises and 4 are river dolphins.

2. Porpoises have rounded blunt heads with spade-shaped teeth. Dolphins on the other had rounded cone-shaped teeth that are set on their jaws which are known to extend out as beaks or snouts.

3. These aquatic mammals were once land-dwelling animals. They are often known as “re-entrants”. According to scientists, dolphins, when they lived on land, were similar to small wolves both in terms of behavior and looks. However, there were major differences too. Instead of claws on foot, the re-entrants used to have 5 hoof-like toes on their feet.

4. Some species of dolphins are known to still have hair on their heads. Scientists have also found hair on the beaks of Amazon River dolphins.

5. Remnant finger bones can still be found in the flippers of the dolphins. Even remnant leg bones are found hidden deep inside the bodies of the dolphins.

6. Killing dolphins was punishable by death in ancient Greece. The Greeks used to call dolphins by the name ‘hieros ichthys’ which literally translates into ‘sacred fish’.

7. The Greeks though that Apollo, the Sun God, took the shape of dolphin while founding his oracle at Mount Parnassus’ Delphi.

8. The term ‘dolphin’ has been take from Greek term ‘delphis’ which relates to the word ‘delphys’ which literally means ‘womb’.

9. The Old French word ‘porpais’ is where the term ‘porpoise’ comes from. Porpais literally means ‘pork fish’. The French probably used the name because the snout of porpoise have a close resemblance to pig snout.

10. The killer whale actually belongs to the dolphin family. In fact, it is the largest species of dolphin. A killer whale actually has teeth while true whales don’t have any teeth.

Interesting Dolphin Facts: 11-20

11. The smallest dolphin species is the Maui Dolphin. Only 150 Maui Dolphins are left in this world.

12. The narwhal is also a type of dolphin but it is known for its distinguished ivory tusk that looks very much like that of the fabled unicorn. Today narwhals are found only in Baffin Bay and Greenland Sea. The ivory tusk is the reason why narwhals are often poached.

13. Dolphins don’t chew. They teeth they have is meant for grasping food. They cannot chew because they don’t have jaw muscles for the purpose.

14. According to scientists, animals with more folds on their brain are more intelligent. Most mammals have smooth brain surface. Humans have extremely folded brain surface but dolphins have even more convoluted brain surface. Interestingly, scientists say that dolphins possessed folded brain long before the evolution of humans.

15. Studies show that dolphins have self-awareness and that they are capable of understanding 60 words which can be arranged to form over 2000 sentences.

16. Weird that despite dolphins being aquatic mammals, they can actually drown if even 1 tablespoon of water gets into their lungs. Opposed to dolphins, humans will drown if 2 tablespoons of water get into their lungs.

17. Baby dolphins are always born tail-first so that they do not drown. The umbilical cord is broken when after delivery, the mother dolphin swims away from the baby very swiftly. However, the mother dolphin swims back equally swiftly to the baby and takes it to the surface so that it can breathe.

18. A baby dolphin learns to hold its breath during nursing.

19. Bulls or the male dolphins swim around the mother dolphin during delivery in order to protect her from predators.

20. If the birth turns out to be difficult, other female dolphins known as ‘midwife’ help to pull out the baby.

Interesting Dolphin Facts: 21-30

21. Dolphins have highly evolved eyes. The eyes are located on either side of the head and have a viewing angle of 300 degrees. Dolphins can actually look behind them without turning their heads.

22. The two eyes can move separately, allowing the dolphins to look at two different directions at once.

23. Dolphins have excellent eyesight both under and above water.

24. Dolphins secret a special type of liquid from their eyes. Usually referred to as tear, this, slippery secretion helps to reduce friction with water and protect the eyes against infections and foreign objects.

25. Dolphins are completely devoid of the sense of smell. However, they have the sense of taste and are capable of distinguishing between salty, bitter, sour and sweet tastes.

26. Dolphins don’t move their tails side by side while swimming. Unlike other fish, they actually move their tail in up and down direction.

27. Dolphins often rely on their sonar or echo-location ability to navigate in water. In fact, the sonar system of dolphins is THE MOST advanced sonar in world. It is even better than that of human-made sonars and bats.

28. Dolphins don’t just hear with their ears. In an experiment, scientists covered the ears of a dolphin using suction cups and found that it hearing abilities are not diminished at all. Only when a rubber jacket was used to cover its lower jaw, its hearing abilities were diminished. This led the scientists to conclude that the sound traveling through water is carried to dolphins’ through a different route and not just the ear canal.

29. Dolphins are capable of producing clicks (a special sound used for echo-location) and whistles for communication. In humans, it will be like carrying out two different communications in two different voices having two different pitches.

30. The sonar system of dolphins is so advanced that they can use it to identify fish of same size, differentiate between brass and aluminum and differentiate between two steel balls with slightly different diameters.

Sources: 1, 2

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