Dolphin with broken blowhole learns to breathe through mouth
2 September 2016 - 2:09pm
A New Zealand dolphin has amazed researchers in New Zealand by adapting to breathe through his or her mouth after she or he was unable to use the blowhole, according to a report in Marine Mammal Science.
Whereas humans have the option to either use their nose or mouth, dolphins have evolved to just use their blowhole. It is unclear why this dolphin was unable to, possibly it developed incorrectly, but it seems to have adapted without any problems and is thriving. While dolphins are known to be able to blow bubbles, this is the first time one has actually been recorded breathing in this way, which requires the dolphin to move the position of its larynx according to the research.
Citation: Dawson, S. M., Fordyce, R. E., Ridgway, S. H., Brough, T. E. and Slooten, E. (2016), Observations of a New Zealand dolphin (Cephalorhynchus hectori) breathing via its mouth. Mar Mam Sci. doi:10.1111/mms.12349