Dec 3, 2023

Bottlenose dolphins can sense electric fields, study shows

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

A small team of bio-scientists from the University of Rostock’s Institute for Biosciences and Nuremberg Zoo’s Behavioral Ecology and Conservation Lab, both in Germany, has found evidence that bottlenose dolphins can sense electric fields. In their study, reported in the Journal of Experimental Biology, the group tested the ability of two captive bottlenose dolphins to sense a small electric field.

Many creatures in the are able to sense an electric field—some sharks and the platypus, for example—but only one type of marine mammal has been found to have the ability: the Guiana dolphin. In this new effort, the research team wondered if other types of dolphins have the ability.

They chose to study for two reasons: a pair of were available for testing at the nearby Nuremberg Zoo, and prior research suggested that neural cells in the vibrissal crypts situated along the dolphins’ snouts strongly resembled the electric-field detectors observed in sharks.

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