Dolphins are amazing creatures that we not only love to go see, but to talk about as well. To see dolphins in person, join the the Southern Star for one of its original dolphin cruises! Until then, enjoy some crazy facts about dolphins!
We’ve talked before about how precise the echolocation skills are of dolphins, but did you know the US Navy used them to detect underwater bombs? Dolphin’s natural ‘sonar’ is far superior to some modern, man-made sonar systems, so in the 1960s, the US Navy started the Navy Marine Mammal Program (NMMP). The NMMP studied and trained dolphins to use their echolocation to find underwater mines and release buoys to alert human partners to their location. Mine-hunting dolphins are still in use today, with the Navy crediting dolphins with finding more than 100 anti-ship mines in the Persian Gulf. Depending on the dolphin team (the Navy currently has five), they can be used to detect floating mines that are chained to the bottom of the ocean, mines that are buried in the sand, or to plan out safe paths to shore.
Sticks and Stones
Much like how people get flowers for their significant others on Valentine’s Day, male dolphins gather bouquets to show off to the ladies. However, instead of being made of flowers, dolphins gather sticks, seaweeds, and other trinkets they can find to make these bouquets. This was originally thought to be a game the dolphins played, but then scientists noticed that the males would usually only gather these bundles when females were around.
When the average human adults takes a breath, 15% of the air in their lungs is replaced with fresh air from the inhale. For dolphins, that just doesn’t cut it. Up to 90% of the air in a dolphin’s lungs is replaced when they take a breath in while on the surface. This make sense, considering, depending on how deep the dolphin is diving, they can go up to 15 minutes without having to return to the surface and breathe again. When they are just resting, dolphins will come to the surface three or four times a minute, but if they are playing or hunting, they may surface as often as 12 times a minute to take a quick breather.
Dolphins are incredibly smart and have high-functioning brains. Like humans and primates, dolphins can recognize themselves in mirrors, something most animals can’t do. On top of this, they can notice changes to their appearance. In a 2001 study conducted at the New York Aquarium, two bottlenose dolphins were marked with black paint on different parts of their body and then placed in a tank with a mirror. The dolphins would swim to the mirror and look at the reflection to investigate the marks the scientists made. This study also concluded that dolphins, like people, enjoy admiring themselves in the mirror. Here at Southern Star, we can’t blame them! Book a dolphin cruise today to admire some dolphins in the beautiful Gulf waters.