Dolphins are probably far more diverse than you think. For example, did you know that killer whales are actually dolphins? That’s right. The name “killer whale” actually came about as the result of a mistranslation. So including the killer whales there are about 40 species of dolphins in the world. Now, get ready to have your mind blown. Are you ready? Guess what a dolphin’s closest living relative is. Have you guessed? It’s the hippopotamus. We’re not even joking. Dolphins and hippos diverged about 40 million years ago. Those killer whales are actually more closely related to hippos than they are to their larger whale cousins. And they’re more closely related to you than they are to everything else that lives in the ocean. In fact, dolphins have such “human-like” cognition and behavior that some scientists have proposed for them to be classified as non-human persons. When it comes to intelligence, there are few animals that even come close to the brain of a dolphin. Even your dog would have trouble competing. So get ready to enter the very interesting world of underwater mammals. These are 25 ridiculous facts about dolphins and their incredible abilities.
25 Like all mammals, dolphins have hair, at least when they are babies (whiskers). The hairs follow out after a while though.
24 Dolphins are actually camouflaged (technically called countershading). Their backs are dark and their underbellies are light. This way they blend into the darkness of the ocean below as well as the light above.
23 Dolphins are opportunistic feeders. This basically means that they will eat anything.
22 Killer Whales are actually dolphins. Their name was a mistranslation from Spanish. It should be “Whale Killer”.
21 Since 2005, 36 armed, terrorist-killing dolphins trained by the US Navy have been missing
20 Some scientists have proposed giving dolphins “rights” like humans considering their similar brain structures and social order. They have even been labeled “non human persons”.
19 In 2008, a dolphin named Moko led two sperm whales through a narrow channel after several failed attempts by rescue teams
18 Researchers have found that dolphins give each other names (via whistles)
17 In Laguna, Brazil, dolphins have been helping local fisherman herd fish into their nets since at least 1847
16 Since dolphins aren’t automatic breathers, only half of their brain sleeps at a time
15 Maui dolphins are the world’s smallest dolphin species. There are only about 55 left on Earth
14 The Soviet Navy once trained dolphins to attach mines onto ships. They were sometimes parachuted out of airplanes
13 The dolphin who played Flipper in 1964 committed suicide by not breathing (dolphins aren’t involuntary breathers)
12 In 2013, scientists found a dolphin that had been adopted by a family of sperm whales
11 Since dolphins are mammals, they have lungs and breathe like humans. This also means they can drown like humans.
10 Male dolphins will sometimes separate female dolphins from their families and starve them until they agree to mate
9 Sexually frustrated dolphins have been known to go on killing sprees
8 Whales have been known to give dolphins piggy back rides
7 In 2006, Bao Xishun, the world’s tallest man, was called by trainers to remove plastic from a dolphin’s stomach when they had failed with every other method. His 1.06 meter long arms saved the dolphin’s life.
6 There is an organization called Anti Dolphin that believes dolphins are a threat to humanity and should be exterminated
5 Dolphins can apparently identify humans underwater thanks to their sonar. They can use it to recognize our skeletal structure
4 Dolphins have been known to save humans from ship wrecks by keeping them afloat and even fighting off sharks
3 There is a species of dolphin that is born blind in the Ganges River of Asia. It has an extremely advanced system of sonar (Indus River Dolphin)
2 In Lake Calcasieu, Louisiana, there is a pink albino dolphin
1 Dolphins can heal rapidly from injuries like shark bites