Communication would be so easy if only dolphins and humans were telepathic. None of this years and years of study thing! We could just bypass the language. Instead, scientists have worked since the 1960s to see if they could talk to dolphins in their language. See what researcher Denise Herzing has discovered:http://embed.ted.com/talks/denise_herzing_could_we_speak_the_language_of_dolphins.html
Most likely as a result of pollution, Hong Kong’s pink dolphins (Sousa chinensis) are dying off. In a recent video, a female pink dolphin supports her dead baby at the surface. Care-giving behavior, also known as epimeletic behavior, is a trait often seen in dolphins, who have been known to keep swimmers above the surface of the water, and take them to land.
A whales exhibit created in New Zealand opened March 23, 2013 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. One of the craziest parts of the exhibit is a life-sized blue whale heart, the size of a Volkswagen bug. DNA evidence is also exhibited that links whales to hippopotami! The exhibit also includes whale-inspired art and weapons. If you can’t make it in person, watch the video above for a few highlights!
You’ve probably seen pictures of pigs cross-fostering puppies, and baby geese who follow around a human as their mother, but this case of cross-species fostering is the first I’ve seen among cetaceans (whales and dolphins). In the video below, you will see a group of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus), swimming with and from time to time brushing fins with a bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) with a bent spine. Sperm whales are huge compared to dolphins, with male sperm whales reaching lengths of up to 67 feet. Yet in this video, you will see the bottlenose swimming close together near a young sperm whale, about twice the length of the dolphin. What a beautiful place for this dolphin to find acceptance … among a group of toothed whales who look so different as to make the dolphin’s deformity invisible.
The rapid, high-pitched clicks you hear are most likely being emitted by the dolphin. The lower-pitched far-spaced single clicks are more likely from one of the sperm whales, who do not whistle and buzz like bottlenose. A set of clicks is called a coda; sperm whales use these clicks to communicate as well as to echolocate for food.
I enjoyed my trip to Sea World yesterday, but I can’t attribute that to the park’s efforts. I went with my family – parents and little kids — and had a good time because we were together, experiencing new things (at least the pre-K’ers were). But the shows lacked the vigor I remember from my last visit in 2002. What’s changed? Is it me or the park itself?
Sea World is still located on Sea World Drive on the edge of sparklingly beautiful Mission Bay, in San Diego, California. It still has a killer whale show, a dolphin show, and a penguin exhibit where you can admire penguins above and below water from a motorized walkway. Now there are even non-sea animals: a porcupine, a monitor lizard, and a five-banded armadillo. Still, it felt different–as though Sea World was talking quickly, avoiding a difficult truth.
The dolphin show was the biggest letdown. Dolphins featured in only 10 minutes of the 25-minute show. Trainer/acrobats cavorted through the air, dove from high dives, and overall put on a show reminiscent of Cirque du Soleil: bright, active and arty. Where were the dolphins? Dolphins did show up from time to time, leaping and tail walking and spinning in circles. While the dolphin show of ten years ago focused on providing information about dolphins — this one told the audience nothing about the real-life animals. The show’s fairy tale premise was the story of a girl who became friends with a dolphin and a parrot/acrobat, and later, I think, a man who appeared from the midst of waterfall. The girl swam and conversed with her animal and human friends off and on, sometimes stood back and watched in awe as other humans dangled from trapeze-like structures suspended over the pool, and other times swam hand in flipper with her dolphin buddy. If you loved dolphins already, you were free to identify with this girl and imagine what it would be like to have a dolphin that picked you — you alone — to swim with. It was not enough for me.
A few trainers did ride the dolphins – which looked like a difficult feat. As they rounded curves holding a bridle, a leg on the back of each dolphin, they looked fair likely to fall off, but amazingly kept their balance. But the dolphins – the amazing animals I know — were absent. These were circus performers: coordinated, strong, agile. These were not the intelligent, humorous, sometimes recalcitrant beings I have grown to love — these were cardboard facsimiles.
Is Sea World in denial? Is this an attempt at rehabilitating the faltering image of dolphins as fairy tale creatures? It would seem they are avoiding addressing the truth of dolphin behavior in the wild, and sometimes even in captivity. The Sea World lawyers are aware that dolphins are not quite as harmless as they are purported to be — just a few months ago a video appeared on YouTube showing a dolphin biting the hand of a 9-year-old girl. It bit by mistake, but the girl still required stitches… and the dolphin petting pool at Sea World San Diego was no longer offering dolphin food (anchovies in a french fry tray) for sale when I visited yesterday. And it will be hard for the Sea World killer whales to soon lose the stigma of last year’s killing of a trainer by their huge male orca, Tillikum. The death wasn’t a simple knock to the head, or even death by drowning, but a long, drawn-out savagery of the dedicated and charismatic female trainer.
Killer Whale Rewarded for Good Behavior
Don’t miss your chance to watch a killer whale baby being born — tail first.
Most people don’t realize that orcas, also known as killer whales, are the largest members of the dolphin family. That’s right, killer whales are actually dolphins. Just like other dolphins, their babies are normally born tail first. Remember that dolphins have to breathe air — following birth, the mother’s next urgent task is to get the baby to the surface so it can breathe — a little like the doctor who spanks the baby to make it take its first breath
Mass strandings of dolphins are mysterious — it’s not usually clear why they happen. Even worse, even with humans actively pushing the dolphins out to sea, they usually come back. In this case, humans used a novel strategy, using a baby dolphin as a lure for the whole pod.
Officers from Australia’s Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) used a dolphin calf from the pod to lure it back out to sea. At time like this, it’s a shame that we haven’t yet rigged a live delphinese translator:
“This sand is so much warmer than the ocean — wait, what are those Jimmies doing over there?”
“They’ve taken my baby!”
“That’s it. After them! Everyone!”
This kidnapping ruse will probably be used again in the future, as it appears to have been successful: a spotter aircraft sent out the following day showed no sign of the dolphins. They have probably moved out to sea, following the unexpected interaction with those rude humans.
Takepart.com author David Kirby brings up an interesting possible variant on the kidnapped dolphin as rescuer — what about using a kidnapped calf to lure dolphins away from the Taiji Cove?
While the humans had a swim with manta rays in mind, a dolphin saw an opportunity to get the help it had been seeking.
In this video, a dolphin swims into a group of night divers there to watch manta rays gliding through the sea. It’s soon clear that the dolphin has something wrong: fishing line wrapped around its pectoral fin. Will it be able to communicate to the humans that it needs help? Will they be bold enough to help it?
Just outside the shipping lanes, a huge group of 5,000 dolphins was seen swimming together off the coast near Long Beach, California, U.S.A. While dolphins often swim together (a group of dolphins is called a “pod”), it is rare to see a pod of dolphins this big — hence the name “Superpod”. The dolphins were also seen with an endangered whale, the Fin Whale, once hunted for its meat and oil. More here.
Found this amusing auto-tune song by Sammy Emsley about dolphins and whales on YouTube.