August 10, 2022

Our water brothers: interesting facts about dolphins

It is hardly correct to call dolphins our smaller brothers: their weight, depending on the species, ranges from 50 to 350 kg, and body length from 1.5 to 5.5 m. And dolphins have bigger brains than we do. Let's get to know these smartest and friendliest creatures closer.

Dolphins do not know how to breathe automatically, they have to constantly monitor the process. Therefore, they never fall asleep completely, but let one hemisphere sleep alternately first, then the other hemisphere.
A dolphin's brain is bigger than a human's brain. It weighs about 2 kg and has a complex structure and a sinuous surface. The number of nerve cells in it significantly exceeds their number in the human brain.

Dolphins have their own language. Dolphins make clicking and whistling sounds not with their mouth, but with a breathing hole – a blowhole. At the same time, the pace of their speech is so high that the human ear is not able to catch most of the signals. In total, there are about 14,000 different signals in the speech of dolphins, but most often they use 60 basic and 5 levels of their combination. They form approximately 1000 "words" - approximately like an adult's everyday vocabulary. At the same time, each dolphin has an individual voice, its own pace and timbre of speech, the manner of expressing itself.

Dolphins once had legs. This is indicated by the two small pelvic bones that are in their skeleton. The common ancestor of all whales and dolphins – pakicet was similar to a wolf or a dog with hooves. Scientists believe that pakicets lived on land, and then for some reason decided to return to the ocean. They do not have an exact answer to the question of when and why this happened. Some researchers believe that this happened 60 million years ago, when the dinosaurs disappeared, others call the figures 30 million and 10 million years. I wonder what the dolphins themselves think about this?

Dolphins hear with their jaws. They do not have an external ear, like terrestrial mammals. But the fat-filled cavity in the lower jaw serves as an excellent resonator and transmits signals to the middle ear. Also, the frontal fat cushion - melon helps to focus and transmit sound signals. The hearing of dolphins and killer whales is 400-1000 times sharper than that of humans. They can determine with the highest accuracy where the sound is coming from. At the same time, the distance to the source can be about 1 km. This ability allows dolphins to easily navigate using echolocation.

The dorsal fin of a dolphin is as individual as human fingerprints. According to it, you can accurately distinguish one animal from another. And the efficiency of their tail fin is 85-90%! For comparison: The efficiency of the most modern submarine propeller is only 70%.

Nature generously endowed dolphins with intelligence and helped them to adapt perfectly to life in an aquatic environment that was once alien to them.

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