Feb 26, 2024

Bottlenose Dolphins Become One Of Few Known Mammals With A “Seventh Sense”

Posted by in category: futurism

The first study of bottlenose dolphins’ sensitivity to electric fields has found some can detect electric direct current (DC) fields as weak as 2.4 microvolts per centimeter, even better than the measured capacities of platypus. Although still less capable in this regard than sharks and rays, the finding suggests electroreceptivity may play a more important role in dolphins’ survival than previously suspected.

Dolphins have small pits rich in nerve endings on their face, known as vibrissal crypts. A 2022 study confirmed these allow them to detect weak electric fields, but provided no indication on how weak that can be. It makes sense for species that live in murky rivers or estuaries to develop alternatives to seeing underwater, but for those dolphins that inhabit clearer waters such capacities might prove superfluous.

However, it seems even in their frequently crystal-clear waters bottlenose dolphins find electrosensitivity useful enough they have maintained it to a considerable degree.

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