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rostral: towards or on the snout (front, rostrum)
caudal: towards or on the tail flukes
dorsal: towards or on the back
ventral: towards or on the belly
lateral: towards or on the sides

diagram of a dolphin

1. Dorsal Fin

2. Stomach

3. Diaphragm

4. Retia Mirabilia

5. Aorta

6. Esophagus

7. Fused Vertabrae

8. Brain

9. Cranium

10. Blowhole

11. Nasal Sacs

12. Nasal Plug

13. Melon

14. Teeth

15. Upper Jaw

16. Beak

17. Lower Jaw

18. Panbone

19. Eye

20. Naso Pharynx

21. Trachea

22. Sternum

23. Heart

24. Flipper

25. Articulated Ribs

26. Lung

27. Liver

28. Intestines

29. Testes

30. Urogenital Opening

31. Penis

32. Bladder

33. Anus

34. Flukes

35. Lobate Kidney

36. Vertebral Column


Dolphins are small, toothed whales. They are part of the group called cetaceans which includes all whales, dolphins, and porpoises. There's MANY different kind of dolphins, a reported 33 different kinds. The bottlenose dolphins are the most popular of the species. They live along tropical and temperate coasts all around the world. People have fallen in love with this dolphin, calling it cute and amazing. Like for example FLIPPER, our Lassie of the ocean. (good one) Other species of dolphins can live in cold waters, such as the Atlantic white-sided dolphin which is found in the Gulf of St.Lawrence to the North Sea, and the hourglass dolphin that lives in the waters of the Antarctic. Throughout this page, there will be comparisons between dolphins and human. Why? Because it makes things easier to explain and b/c WE'RE BOTH MAMMALS! We nurse our young, which are born alive and not hatched from eggs. At birth a bottlenose dolphin calf is about 90-130 cms long and will grow to approx. 4 metres, living up to 40 years. Humans and dolphins are both warm blooded as well. Dolphins have a temperate of 96-98.6 degrees Fahrenheit and they're outer coat is a bit cooler. (as one would expect seeing that they're in the water and what not) What's interesting is that although dolphins seem to LOOK colder since they have a cool slippery coat and they're always underwater, this coat actually helps them preserve their body heat. The dolphin's body temperates are only a fraction lower human's.

Now that we've gotten to know eachother ... Here's some interesting facts!


Everyone should know that dolphins can see pretty good underwater. I mean, it's common sense. But not everyone knows exactly WHY!!?? Take for example, the fact that dolphins can swim and navigate perfectly fine underwater but when humans try, it's either impossible, foggy-looking, or it feels like you need to have your glasses on. Well - unlike the human eye where most of the work is done by the cornea, dolphins have more powerful lens located further forward, and is spherical like a fish eye. This is one big reason why they're adapted to see better. Also - The dolphin's eyes produce a special slippery secretion which protects the eyes from foreign objects and water friction.


Dolphins need to breath just like the rest of us do. The way they accomplish this task is very interesting to watch. The dolphin's "nostrils" are located on top of their head so they can get air from the surface by swimming up to the top briefly. When it dives, the blowhole is closed by a strong valve. Rather than breathing continuously, like we do, a dolphin takes a breathe and holds it until it surfaces again. Unlike us, dolphins breathing is not automatic, so they have to think to breathe rather than think to hold their breath. (COOL HUH?)


Dolphins also have excellent hearing ... They hear everything that's going on around them underwater. First, dolphins communicate by making two types of sounds: vocalizations and echolocation. Vocalizations are the many noises dolphins use to communicate. These sounds come from there blowhole. Echolocation, also called sonar, is the way dolphins locate and distinguish between objects underwater. As far as how dolphins hear eachother and what kind of range they have ; bottlenose dolphins can hear frequencies between 75 Hz and 150 kHz (in humans the range is 10 Hz to 16-20 kHz). The most sensitive sounds are between 40 and 70 kHz.


Dolphins will eat most kinds of fish from blue fish stripers, mackeral, tuna, ETC. They're not too picky. Turning the tables - Dolphin's predators include tiger shark, hammer head, great white, bull sharks, humans, and killer whales (though they are in the same family)


Ocean Dolphins: Atlantic White-sided Dolphin, Atlantic Borneo White Dolphin, Bottlenose Dolphin, Borneo White Dolphin, Bouto Dolphin, Broad-beaked Dolphin, Cameroon Dolphin, Chinese White Dolphin, Clymene Dolphin, Commerson's Dolphin, Common Dolphin, Dusky Dolphin, Falkland Island Dolphin, Fraser's Dolphin, Heaviside's Dolphin, Hector's Dolphin, Hour-glass Dolphin, Long-snouted Spinner Dolphin, Northern Right Whale Dolphin, Pantropical Spotted Dolphin, Peale's Dolphin, Plumbeous Dolphin, Rio de Janeiro Dolphin, Risso's Dolphin, Rough Toothed Dolphin, Southern Right Whale Dolphin, Speckled Dolphin, Spinner Dolphin, Spotted Dolphin, Striped Dolphin, White- beaked Dolphin,White-bellied Dolphin, White-sided Dolphin.

River Dolphins: Amazon River Dolphin, Baiji Dolphin, Indus River Dolphin, Ganges River Dolphin and Guiana River Dolphin.

Porpoises: Black Porpoise, Black Finless Porpoise, Cochito, Dall's Porpoise, Finless Porpoise, Harbor Porpoise, Spectacled Porpoise, True's Porpoise.


Dolphins are the smartest creatures on earth. What you don't believe me!! Well, scientists have proven that they are. If you still think that well I have to break it to you gently, dolphins are smarter than you. Studies have shown that dolphins have twice the brain convolutions (creases in the brain) which is usually a sign of intelligence in all creatures. Also, intelligence tests have been given to them to prove this. They have very complex social behavior and we haven't been able to understand their langauge. People don't love this creature for nothing, they REALLY are mostly nice and gentle. Infact, many times a dolphin is found saving a dumb beach goer who didn't watch the surf and will actually take them to shore. But, although gentle with us dolphins and their relatives, porpoises are very cruel to each other and other animals including sharks. What, you don't believe me? How is this possible. Well, dolphins and porpoises hang together in schools or groups and when someone decides to pick on one the whole school gets involved. What will they do to the shark? They will push their beaks(noses) into the sharks eyes in a very painful agonizing ordeal. But, with their young dolphins are as gentle as babies. Dolphin babies will stay with their parents for 1 or 2 years while porpoises and river dolphins stay with their young for only one. Now, porpoises are mostly just like a dolphin except being a little less intelligent and a little smaller usually only 6 feet like the river dolphins though the true dolphins can get much larger than this. Dolphins have two fins that act a lot like arms and a fin on the back with to even lines intersecting in a equilateral triangle. Infact, they look a lot like a shark fin at first. Dolphins can grow to sixteen feet. True dolphin go to the group delphinidae, while true porpoise go to the group phocoenidae. Now, the odd ball dolphins or the fresh water dolphins belong to Platanistidae. All these animals communicate through a series of whistles and clicks which even today scientists can not figure what these series mean. While dolphins live up to 25 years porpoises and freshwater dolphins live much shorter lives. All these animals can actually swim faster than we can run. They have been seen swimming as fast as thirty miles per hour. Now, although both dolphins and porpoises swim in schools dolphins seem to swim in much larger groups sometimes thousands of individuals at a time.

If you would like to discuss dolphins or any other living and breeding things, odds are that you'll find plenty of opinions at your local EWS discussion forums.