Are Dolphins Mammals?

Playful, agile, sleek, and compassionate: dolphins have both fascinated and confused people for thousands of years. Today, we will delve into the top eight characteristics that unite dolphins and other mammals together.


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Dolphins breathe through their lungs

Since dolphins breathe exclusively through their blowholes, they never have to worry about drawing water into their lungs as they swallow prey.

Dolphins have a placenta

This temporary organ draws nutrients from the mother’s bloodstream and delivers them to the unborn child. This is an elegant way to ensure the survival of the developing young, but it also places a lot of stress on the mother’s body.

Dolphins can produce milk

Like just about all mammals, female dolphins have mammary glands that produce milk for their young. Since the calves have no lips, many of them have to form a water-tight seal by rolling their tongues into a straw-like shape in order to consume the milk while keeping out the seawater.

Calves are born with hair

Dolphin calves are born with small follicles or hair protruding from their snouts. This is probably an evolutionary relic without any actual purpose (besides perhaps helping them feel their mother) because most dolphins lose these hairs quickly after birth and never grow a single strand for the rest of their lives.

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