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Who doesn't love dolphins with their spunk and bluish gray cuteness! Whether you've seen one, swam with one or even just seen them on TV, there's a lot more to these mammals than you know! This is a community dedicated to dolphins and those who love them.
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It's all about Dolphins! Find Dolphin facts, gifts, information and products. See how you can Swim with the dolphins. Find fun things like Bedding, figurines and more.
Dolphins: Playmates of the Sea
Everyone knows that Flipper’s a dolphin. But did you know that Shamu is a dolphin, too? That’s right, the huge black-and-white marine mammals known as orcas, or killer whales, actually belong to same family as the Flippers of the sea, the gray bottle-nosed dolphins. In fact, there are almost 40 species of dolphin in 17 different genera! Bet they never told you that during your last trip to Sea World or Marineland!!
Dolphins are marine mammals closely related to whales and porpoises. They’re considered to be amongst the most intelligent animals on Earth. Their ability to communicate with each through whistles and clicks, their friendly appearance and playful attitude have made them popular in human culture from Greek sculptures of boys riding dolphins to the friendly dolphins of the late Douglas Adams’ book, A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
While dolphins’ intelligence is widely assumed, it’s hard to say just how intelligent they are in comparison with other species, because it’s too difficult to conduct intelligence studies in the dolphins’ natural habitat, water. However, dolphin behavior has been widely studied. Estimates of dolphin intelligence more often are based on their behavior and on the anatomy of their brains, which are large and highly complex...more than we can say for most humans!
Dolphins aren't just adorable; they have a streamlined body adapted for fast swimming. A dolphin uses its tail fin, called a fluke, for propulsion, and controls its direction with its pectoral fins and tail section. Dolphins that have dorsal fins use them for stability while swimming. The head contains a round organ, called the melon, used for echolocation similar to that of bats and other fish. Some dolphin species have elongated jaws forming a distinct beak, while others little the bottlenose dolphin have a curved mouth that looks like a smile. (Is that why we all consider them so cute and endearing??) All dolphins breathe through a blowhole on top of their heads.
Most dolphins have acute eyesight in and out of the water. Their sense of hearing is thought to be better than that of humans, possibly because they hear through their ears and through their lower jaws, which conduct sound vibrations to the middle ear via a fat-filled cavity in the lower jawbone. Marine biologists think that dolphins’ teeth are arranged to act as an antenna to channel incoming sound and make it easier for them to locate both the sound’s source and objects. The dolphin's sense of touch is also well-developed, but they lack an olfactory nerve and are thought to be unable to smell. However, they seem to be able to taste, and show a preference for certain kinds of fish.
Dolphins display two traits similar to humans: They’re social animals, living in groups called pods, and they show cultural behavior, something previously though to be a unique human quality. In May 2005, a group of Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphins was observed teaching its young to use tools. The dolphins protected themselves from injury while foraging by breaking off sponges to cover their snouts.
Dolphins also have shown a highly developed altruistic behavior that has made them particularly beloved by humans. Dolphins will help injured or ill members of their own and other sea mammal species, and have been known to protect swimmers from sharks.
Sorry to end on a downer, but sadly, Flipper, Shamu and their cousins face an uncertain future. Environmental contamination from pesticides, heavy metals, plastics, and other pollutants, combined with deaths from injuries sustained in boat collisions, are reducing dolphin populations around the world.