Dolphins really are the superstars of the sea. They have headlined in television shows and films. The movie Flipper was so successful in 1962 that it became a television series and ran for three years. Free Willy was a blockbuster when it was released. And in Ireland, a dolphin known as Fungie became massively famous without even having his own show. His friendly, playful antics first charmed locals and then drew tourists from around the world. Clearly, people love dolphins. But why?
- For starters, they aren’t fish. They are mammals, like us. They have one baby at a time usually (twins are extremely rare) and spend a significant portion of their lives raising them.
- Dolphins are incredibly smart. Not only are they trainable, they can teach other dolphins. Studies have shown that dolphins pass on knowledge directly to other dolphins, not just useful information such as where to get food, but instructions for how to do things. They are clever enough to follow other creatures to let their left overs!
- They have a whole language. To communicate this knowledge, they use a complex language comprised of whistles, clicks and other noises. We don’t know yet if they have grammar rules, and if some dolphins are teased for being extra fussy about grammar, but it seems likely.
- Do they communicate the rules of games? Probably, because another reason we love dolphins is their playfulness. Their joy as they arch out of the water and leap through the air is obvious. Dolphins know how to have fun.
- Like us, dolphins are social creatures. They live in small groups, and sometimes small groups band together into huge communities of hundreds of dolphins. It’s kind of like the way some people live in huge cities and other prefer little villages.
- Not to be shallow, but dolphins are gorgeous. They are so sleek, and their long-nosed faces have so much character. Spotting one is a real treat.
More Intriguing Facts about Dolphins
Bottle-nosed dolphins are the ones we see the most, but there are more than 40 distinct types of dolphin. That includes the orca, aka the killer whale, which is not a whale at all. Most dolphins live in the ocean, but five types are fresh-water dolphins that live in rivers. They have an amazing role to play in telling us about conditions in their rivers. If the dolphin population is healthy, it is a safe bet the river is healthy. But if the dolphin population is sickly or dwindling, that’s a sure sign of damage to the environment.
Dolphins synchronize their movements with each other sometimes, and they play in the wake of boats that pass by them. Spy-hopping is the movement where they jump straight up out of the water, staying vertical, to get a good look around. Dolphins navigate using their sight, hearing and echolocation, which is the same sense bats use, where they detect sound bouncing off of solid objects.
Precious dolphin necklace would be the perfect choice for any dolphin lover!