Download e-book for iPad: The Lives of Whales and Dolphins: From the American Museum by Richard C. Connor, Dawn M. Peterson

By Richard C. Connor, Dawn M. Peterson

ISBN-10: 0805019502

ISBN-13: 9780805019506

An obtainable and lavishly illustrated exploration of the area of whales and dolphins, in keeping with the newest learn, follows the seventy-five species of those creatures from beginning via all features in their attention-grabbing lives. 10,000 first printing

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Additional info for The Lives of Whales and Dolphins: From the American Museum of Natural History

Sample text

Keeping One's Proper Distance. A h u m p b a c k whale sometimes emits streams of densely packed bubbles f r o m its blowhole that trail well b e h i n d it as it swims. Scientists in an aircraft often are able to follow this trail of bubbles right to the humpback. Although it is unclear exactly how the h u m p back uses its bubble-making ability, o n e f u n c t i o n may be to signal its location, especially if the bubbles are as visible to o t h e r h u m p b a c k s as they are to h u m a n s .

Most land mammals have stout jaws, just right for chewing or tearing. This d o l p h i n jaw, however, was thin toward its rear, as translucent as the finest china. A n o t h e r oddity was that the mandibular canal, a tube that carries blood vessels and nerves to the teeth a n d jaw tissues in land mammals, m o n o p o l i z e d the entire rear e n d of the jaw in the dolphin skull. T h e dense, ivorylike ear bones, normally missing in a beach-buried skeleton, were intact. W h e n Norris fitted the jaw to the skull, m e s h i n g the u p p e r a n d lower teeth, he observed that the mandibular canal pointed directly at the ear bone.

Norris had been o n e of the first scientists to confirm with experiments that dolphins do, in fact, use echolocation. T h e m a m m a l is able to p r o d u c e intense, short, b r o a d - b a n d pulses of ultrasonic sound which then b o u n c e off objects in the animal's path, p r o d u c i n g echoes that it hears a n d f r o m which it is able to create an acoustical picture of its surroundings. In e x p e r i m e n t s with a captive b o t t l e n o s e d o l p h i n n a m e d Kathy, Norris and his team had shown that even when Kathy's vision was blinded by suction cups placed over h e r H o w W H A L E S A N D D O L P H I N S PERCEIVE THEIR WORLD eyes, she was able to make her way to a target a n d press it with the tip of her snout, thus setting off a bell, the signal that she h a d d o n e h e r j o b well a n d would be handsomely rewarded with a mouth-watering fish.

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The Lives of Whales and Dolphins: From the American Museum of Natural History by Richard C. Connor, Dawn M. Peterson


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