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The Dolphin Is The Most Social Marine Mammal

dolphin
Image via Pexels

Dolphins are one of the most extraordinary animals found in the marine world. Some species even inhabit freshwater rivers. These social marine mammals have fascinated humans for centuries with their intelligence, playful behavior and unique communication abilities. 

Looking Further

A closeup shot of dolphins swimming. Image by wirestock_creators via Depositphotos

Generally they are known for their friendly nature towards humans and other sea creatures. Thus making them attractive to tourists and marine biologists. Moreover in this article I aim to give you a glimpse into the world of dolphins, their behavior and more.

Playful Beings

Cephas, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Dolphins are truly remarkable creatures and their behavior depicts this. Their playful nature is a source of wonder for humans lucky enough to witness it. Evidently it’s not uncommon to see a group of dolphins leaping out of the water, spinning in midair and even riding the waves created by boats.

Behavior Of Dolphins

Dolphin Relaxing in Water
Dolphin Relaxing in Water. Image via Depositphotos

What’s even more fascinating is their intelligence. Scientists have discovered that dolphins have larger brains relative to their body size than any other animal on Earth, including humans. They possess self-awareness and problem-solving skills that are second only to some primates. Undoubtedly they even have a unique ability to mimic human speech, allowing them to “talk” to us like no other animal.

Complex Communication System

Dolphin doing air time out of the water
Dolphin doing air time out of the water. Image via Depositphotos

Dolphins also have a complex communication system that allows them to interact with each other. Generally they use a combination of clicks, whistles and body language to express themselves and can communicate over great distances using echolocation. 

High-Level Expressions

Dolphin with spots
Atlantic spotted dolphin. Image via Alastair Rae from London, United Kingdom, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Their social behavior is also fascinating. They are highly social creatures that live in groups called pods, and they have been known to display acts of altruism, cooperation, and even mourning for their dead.

Human Relationship With Dolphins

Dolphins swimming
A pair of dolphins swimming underwater. Image via Depositphotos

Humans have had a long-standing relationship with dolphins, with many accounts of dolphins helping sailors at sea, protecting swimmers from sharks and even rescuing people in distress. Evidently they are also often used in therapy for children and adults with disabilities due to their gentle and friendly nature.

Dolphin Habitats

Dolphins swimming
Dolphins in the sea. Image via Depositphotos

Clearly dolphins are fascinating marine mammals that can be found in a variety of habitats all around the world. From salty oceans to remote freshwater rivers, these creatures have adapted to life in diverse environments.

Extremely Adaptable

A close up of a happy dolphin.

Image via Depositphotos

Many times, when we picture dolphins, we picture them swimming in the wide, blue ocean. Still, freshwater rivers are home to a number of dolphin species, including the Amazon River dolphin. The particular difficulties of freshwater habitats, like fluctuating water levels and temperatures and obtaining enough food, have forced these dolphins to adapt.

Regulate Body Temperature

Spinner Dolphins
Wild dolphins underwater in deep blue ocean. Image via Depositphotos

One of the most impressive adaptations of these animals is their ability to regulate their body temperature. Unlike most other aquatic mammals, dolphins have a thick layer of fat that insulates them from the cold ocean or river water. They also have a special vascular system that conserves body heat by shutting off blood flow to certain body parts during cold periods.

Incredibly Intelligent Animals

Spinner Dolphins
A pod of spinner dolphins {Stenella longirostris} in the Fury Shoals. Access to these areas is restricted, and the boat drivers are highly skilled in order to cause minimum disturbance to the dolphins. Red Sea. June

Dolphins possess remarkable physiological adaptations, but they are also highly intelligent creatures with sophisticated communication abilities. Evidently they communicate with each other and plan group activities, like mating and hunting, using a sophisticated system of sounds and body language. Their ability to survive in the frequently difficult conditions of their habitat depends on this social behavior.

Types Of Dolphins

Spinner Dolphins
Image via Depositphotos

Dolphins are a diverse group of marine mammals. Incredibly they have over 40 species in oceans and some freshwater rivers worldwide. Each dolphin species has its unique characteristics, behavior and habitat that sets it apart from the others. 

Bottlenose Dolphin

bottlenose dolphin
Bottlenose dolphins swimming together. Image by Kammeran Gonzalezkeola via Unsplash

The Bottlenose Dolphin is perhaps the most famous and recognizable dolphin species. They are found in temperate and tropical waters around the globe. Generally they are known for their friendly and sociable nature towards humans. 

Size

bottlenose dolphin
Image via Pexels

Bottlenose Dolphins can grow up to 3-4 meters long and weigh 600 kg. They have a signature curved mouth that resembles a bottle, which is how they got their name.

Common Dolphin

By NOAA NMFS – http://www.photolib.noaa.gov/htmls/anim0916.htm, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11138397

The Common Dolphin is another species of dolphin found in the temperate and tropical waters. They are smaller than Bottlenose Dolphins, measuring up to 2 meters long and weighing up to 80 kg. 

What makes them different?

common dolphin
By JKMelville – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22471969

One of the most distinctive characteristics of Common Dolphins is their coloring. They have an hourglass pattern on their sides, a yellowish-tan color on their dorsal area and a white belly. Common Dolphins have larger social groups than other species of dolphins, with as many as 1,000 individuals in a pod.

Humpback Dolphin

humpback dolphin
By Tracy Meintjes – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15525598

The Humpback Dolphin is a unique species inhabiting the coastal waters of West Africa, the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia. They are smaller than Bottlenose Dolphins, measuring up to 2.5 meters long and weighing 150 kg.

What Makes Them Unique

humpback dolphin
By Mandy – Dolphin Following Dhow, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29092883

Humpback Dolphins are named after the hump on their dorsal fin, which is larger than that of other dolphin species. They are grayish-brown, with lighter patches on the sides and belly. Generally Humpback Dolphins are known for their shy and elusive nature.

Learn about the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin.

Watching And Interacting With Dolphins

Spinner Dolphin
Spinner dolphins underwater in Indian ocean at Mauritius island. Image via Depositphotos

Dolphins are among the few marine creatures with a friendly demeanor towards humans. This makes them the perfect subject for a fun and educational experience. Clearly there are numerous places worldwide where visitors can observe and interact with dolphins in their natural habitat.

Dolphin-Watching Tours

Spinner Dolphin
Dolphins swimming underwater in ocean. Mauritius. Image via Depositphotos

One of the most common ways tourists can watch and interact with dolphins is through dolphin-watching tours. Moreover local tour operators usually offer these tours with in-depth knowledge of the area and can guide you to spots where dolphins are frequently spotted.

Interact With Dolphins In A Controlled Environment

Spinner Dolphin
Spinner Dolphin. Image via Depositphotos

In addition to watching and swimming with dolphins in their natural habitat, there are places around the world where you can interact with dolphins in a controlled environment. Generally these are at marine parks or aquariums, where dolphins are trained and kept in captivity. 

Conservation Of Dolphins

Spinner Dolphin
Spinner Dolphin. Image via Depositphotos

Dolphins are widely considered as key indicators of the health of marine ecosystems. However these incredible creatures face numerous threats stemming from human activities. These threats include bycatch in fishing gear, habitat degradation, pollution and climate change.

What Is Happening

Spinner Dolphins
dolphins swimming underwater, tropical ocean. Image via Depositphotos

To conserve dolphins, several measures have thoughtfully been put in place. Governments and international organizations have also implemented regulations to reduce bycatch in fishing gear.

What You Can Do

Spinner Dolphins
Spinner Dolphins. Image via Depositphotos

Lastly as individuals, there are numerous ways to contribute to the conservation of dolphins. You can try reducing plastic usage, properly disposing of trash and supporting responsible dolphin-watching tours.

Wrapping Up with The Dolphin Is The Most Social Marine Mammal

Spinner Dolphin
Spinner dolphins in tropical ocean with sunlight. Dolphins family in underwater. Image via Depositphotos

Finally the world of dolphins is a fascinating one filled with wonder. Evidently these socially intelligent marine mammals have captured the hearts and minds of humans for centuries and continue to be a source of fascination for marine biologists and tourists alike. 

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