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9 Interesting Facts about Dolphins and Dolphin Intelligence
1. Dolphins use 'echolocation'. This means they locate objects using sound like a radar. Using this method they hunt fish together and avoid obstacles with exceptional skill.
2. A dolphin is a mammal which means it is a warm-blooded animal and not a cold blooded one like a fish. Like whales, dolphins use blow holes at the top of their heads to breathe. So although a dolphin can dive to over 500 feet they generally stay within 15-20 feet of the surface so they can go up and breathe.
3. Dolphins have amazing lung capacity. They can stay underwater for over 15 minutes! Scientists have discovered that when dolphins go to great depths (when hunting) they release the oxygen in their lungs and let them collapse. Then they slowly return to the surface to breathe.
4. Dolphins have a language. Dolphins communicate using a complicated combination of clicks and sound. They use their language to co-ordinate hunting parties which are beautifully executed with every dolphin knowing exactly what to do and when to do it.
Learn About Dolphins
5. Dolphins are always alert. When dolphins sleep only half of their brain shuts down and only one eye closes. One eye stay one with half the brain functioning so it's very difficult to surprise them.
6. Dolphins have powerful tails. They have been clocked swimming at over 30 km/hr underwater. They can outrun sharks and fight them if they have to. Not to mention jumping several feet out of the water and moving backwards in the water on the tips of their tails.
7. Dolphins are social animals. Dolphins hunt and raise baby dolphins together. They also defend the whole group with coordinated fighting.
8. Dolphins can communicate with whales and guide them to safety. In the following video you'll see a dolphin do what a New Zealand conservationist group couldn't; get some stuck whales out of danger. Then the dolphin goes and plays with some people!
A Dolphin Guides Whales to Safety
9. Dolphins can reason and come up with novel solutions. The following video shows a dolphin answering yes and no to particular question (by pressing a designated paddle) showing they can understand a question and reply. Then the dolphin is asked a trick question and you'll be amazed at her novel response!