Dolphin Physical Characteristics

The overall anatomy of the dolphin is very detailed, and designed well for them to survive in the water. They are marine animals, spending their entire life in the water. Some of the species can live in freshwater, but most of the will live in saltwater. They are very closely related to both porpoises and whales. The overall size of dolphins can range from one extreme to the next. Some of the smaller ones are about 4 feet in length and others measure as long as 30 feet. Some of them weigh about 90 pounds while others tip the scale around 11 tons.

The coloring of the dolphin is mainly grayish blue. However, their skin is very sensitive and it can be harmed against rough surfaces. That is one of the main concerns for them in their habitat due to pollution and other factors that humans have contributed over time. However, they are able to recover from various severe injuries, including shark bites. They have a rapid healing process even for deep wounds.

Dolphin physical characteristics.

Dolphin skeleton.

The skin feels like rubber and they don’t have any sweat glands. Part of this though could be due to the thickness of the skin of a dolphin. The epidermis, which is the outer layer of skin, is from 10 to 20 times thicker than that of other terrestrial mammals. The skin will peel and flake off in order for new skin cells to replace the older ones. This is in the similar fashion to how human skin cells are replaced. The layer under the epidermis is where the nerves, connective tissues, and the blood vessels are found. This layer of skin is the dermis.

The body of a dolphin is streamlined and it is designed for them to be able to swim very fast, even for long periods of time.The name of the tail for a dolphin is the fluke, and they use it to help them propel the body through the water. They also rely on their pectoral fins to help them with being able to swim in a given direction. Echolocation is a big part of communication for the dolphin and occurs due to the melon that is in their large head.

Dolphins have a blowhole at the top of their head, and they must come to the surface for air. Some of them need to breathe several times a minute and some species only have to get air twice per hour. They also have a large brain, the second largest for mammals in comparison to their body size. They are second only to humans. Their brain is very complex and research shows it to be very different from other mammals.

anatomy of the dolphin.

Dolphins do sleep, but it may not appear that way when you observe them. This is because only one hemisphere of the brain will rest at a time. The other allows them to be alert for dangers and for them to get to the surface of the water to get the air they need at regular intervals.

What has been noted though is that in captivity, dolphins may fully enter sleep with their eyes closed and both hemispheres down at the same time. They don’t respond to stimuli but they are able to automatically get air due to the blowhole being kept above the surface of the water.

Another unique difference with the anatomy of the dolphin is that they don’t have hair covering their body. They may be born with a few hairs but they lose them soon after being born. However, the Boto River Dolphin has been identified as some small areas of hair that do remain as adults.

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