Dolphins are pretty funny creatures and they are best known for their intelligence and extremely friendly nature.
From an 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!
Dolphin Facts: 1-5
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.
Dolphin Facts: 6-10
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 thought that Apollo, the Sun God, took the shape of a dolphin while founding his oracle at Mount Parnassus’ Delphi.
8. The term ‘dolphin’ has been taken 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 belongs to the dolphin family. In fact, it is the largest species of dolphin. A killer whale has teeth while true whales don’t have any teeth.
Dolphin Facts 11-15
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 surfaces. Humans have an extremely folded brain surface but dolphins have even more convoluted brain surface. Interestingly, scientists say that dolphins possessed a 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.
Dolphin Facts: 16-20
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 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.
Dolphin Facts 21-25
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.
Dolphin Facts: 26-30
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 the 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 its 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 the same size, differentiate between brass and aluminum and differentiate between two steel balls with slightly different diameters.
Dolphin Facts 31-35
31. Dolphins have a layer of special reflectors in their eyes known as tapetem lucidem which allows them to see exceptionally well in low light conditions.
32. Dolphins have the incredible ability of surviving without sleep for months. They can do this because they are capable of alternately shutting down half of their brain at a time while all the functions are taken care of by the other half.
33. Coming to the skin of a dolphin, the epidermis is way thicker than any land animal. In fact, it is 10 to 20 times thicker.
34. The epidermis of a dolphin grows 9 times faster than that of humans and the entire skin layer of a dolphin gets replaced every two hours. This is the reason why dolphins have very hydrodynamic, silky and smooth skin.
35. Yet another fascinating feature of their skin is that they have microscopic ripples. These ripples prevent any kind of parasite from grabbing on to the skin. These ripples are also responsible for helping dolphins to swim very fast through the water.
Dolphin Facts: 36-40
36. Dolphins are known for releasing a very special kind of gel which is known for resisting mucus that barnacles. This special gel is also known to have enzymes that destroy parasites by attacking them.
37. Dolphins are known for being capable of holding their breath for 12 minutes and dive to a depth of 1800 feet. They can do this because their almost human-sized lungs are far more efficient than human lungs.
38. With every single breath, dolphins are capable of exchanging more than 80% of the lung air as compared to only 17% in case of humans. Coupled with this feature, the higher count of red blood cells and higher hemoglobin concentrations in dolphins allow them to store more oxygen in muscles and blood.
39. Dolphins are also equipped with the ability to control their blood circulation. They usually restrict blood flow to extremities of their bodies and divert the blood towards the brain and heart during deep dives. This explains why they are capable of holding their breaths for a longer time.
40. Dolphins are equally sensitive to pain as humans, but they also have the ability to completely ignore mind-numbing agonies from crippling injuries. Even after massive injuries like a chunk of flesh torn away by a predator, dolphins will feed, swim and play normally.
Dolphin Facts 41-45
41. Dolphins also have the amazing power of healing. Their healing capacity is often described as alien-like or miraculous. They will simply regrow a chunk of flesh taken away by a predator just within 14 days and there will be absolutely no scars left behind.
42. Once a dolphin gets attacked by a predator such as a shark and incurs a massive injury, it will simply simply restrict its blood flow to the area of injury to prevent massive blood loss. The dolphin will simply constrict the blood vessels in the area of injury and prevent hemorrhage.
43. A dolphin moving at average speed exerts 200 pounds of thrust in water. At full speed, it can exert a thrust of 300 to 400 pounds. So with that can of speed, how fast can a dolphin swim? A dolphin can peak at 20 miles an hour when necessary!
44. Dolphins can achieve that kind of speed while swimming because of two reasons. The first reason is that they have a tubular body with pointed ends on both sides. The second reason is that they can convert 80% of their body energy into thrust. Humans are capable of converting only 4 percent of body energy into thrust.
45. Dolphins don’t get infections when they are bitten by filthy shark teeth or when they swim in bacteria-riddled ocean. Scientists say that dolphins know how to siphon off antibiotics produced by plankton and algae.
In fact, scientists have actually found the chemicals produced by these microbes in the blubbers of dolphins. When the dolphins get injured, the blubbers at the injury site decompose and give off the antibiotics which help in healing.
Scientists, however, don’t know exactly how the dolphins manage to store the chemicals instead of metabolizing them.
Dolphin Facts: 46-50
46. Dolphins can sense the magnetic field of earth using the magnetite crystals present in their brains. These magnetite crystals work as their GPS system in the vast oceans.
47. Dolphins often end up at the beach and fail to return to the sea/ocean. Result? They die. But why? There is no definitive answer for this. There are currently two explanations.
One group of scientists believe that the local magnetic rocks manage to reduce the strength of Earth’s magnetic field. As a result, dolphins close to the beach often fail to see the beach using their built in GPS until it is too late.
48. The second group of scientists blame the sun. They say that some beaches get higher radiation from the sun and this higher flux eventually screws up the magnetic sense of the dolphins.
49. Interesting the dolphins that are rescued and sent back into sea often return and beach themselves again!
50. Scientists studied some Guiana dolphins in the South American coast and found small depressions on their snout. The scientists figured out that these depressions actually work as electroreceptors.
Put in other words, these depressions help them to pick up electrical impulses from muscles of nearby fish. Scientists say that echo-location fails to work at close distances and when sonar fails, dolphins use electroreception to find their prey.
Dolphin Facts 51-55
51. Dolphins move in groups known as pods. A pod may consist of 2 dolphins, and sometimes more than 100 dolphins. An average pod usually consists of 12 dolphins.
52. Dolphins maintain a very complex social structure and they have a wide range of emotions too! They understand humor.
53. Dolphins are born with one set of teeth and that is the only set they have until they die. In case their teeth fall off, they cannot grow back.
54. Dolphins are capable of killing sharks. In groups, they can actually ram a shark with their snouts and kill the killer!
55. Dolphins don’t really have any particular season for reproduction. They usually spend a lot of time in foreplay and enjoying sex!
Dolphin Facts: 56-60
56. Dolphins make use of the blowhole on top of their head for breathing.
57. A dolphin weighing 260 pounds will usually eat 33 pounds of fish every single day and will not gain weight at all.
58. Dolphins cannot breath under water. They come to the surface and expose their blowhole to open air to breath. If they need rest, they will again come to the surface and take rest with the blowhole exposed so that they can continue to breathe when they rest.
However, they will keep at least one half of their brain active for the blowhole to function because unlike humans, dolphins cannot breathe with their entire brain shut down.
59. Dolphins have been found to help fishermen. In fact, they actually play around the boats and send signals indicating the best time for casting nets. Once the nets are cast, the dolphins often herd the fish into the net!
60. Dolphins often get caught in fishing nets and end up drowning because they fail to come to the surface for breathing.