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Dolphins are one of the most dangerous aquatic animals known to man. They are found worldwide in fresh as well as salt water. They are carnivores, eating mostly fish and squid. Dolphins are among the most intelligent animals, and their often friendly appearance and seemingly playful attitude have made them very popular in human culture. Despite their lovable appearance few know that they are responsible for raping over fourteen innocent people a year.

Reproduction and sexuality

Dolphin copulation happens belly to belly; though many species engage in lengthy foreplay, the actual act is usually brief, but may be repeated several times within a short timespan. Typically dolphins give birth to a single calf, which is, unlike most other mammals, born tail first in most cases. They usually become sexually active at a young age, even before reaching sexual maturity. The age of sexual maturity varies by species and gender. Dolphins are known to have sex for reasons other than reproduction, sometimes engaging in rape. Various species sometimes engage in sexual behavior including copulation with other dolphin species. Sexual encounters may be violent, with male dolphins sometimes showing aggressive behavior towards both females and other males. Occasionally, dolphins behave sexually towards other animals, including humans.

Dolphins are social, living in pods of up to a dozen individuals. In places with a high abundance of food, pods can merge temporarily, forming a superpod; such groupings may exceed 1,000 dolphins. Individuals communicate using a variety of clicks, whistle-like sounds and other vocalizations. Membership in pods is not rigid; interchange is common. Dolphins engage in acts of aggression towards each other. The older a male dolphin is, the more likely his body is to be covered with bite scars. Male dolphins engage in such acts of aggression apparently for the same reasons as humans: disputes between companions and competition for females. Acts of aggression can become so intense that targeted dolphins sometimes go into exile as a result of losing a fight. Male bottlenose dolphins have been known to engage in infanticide. Dolphins have also been known to kill porpoises for reasons which are not fully understood, as porpoises generally do not share the same diet as dolphins, and are therefore not competitors for food supplies.

Generally, dolphins sleep with only one brain hemisphere in slow-wave sleep at a time, thus maintaining enough consciousness to breathe and to watch for possible predators and other threats. Earlier sleep stages can occur simultaneously in both hemispheres. In captivity, dolphins seemingly enter a fully asleep state where both eyes are closed and there is no response to mild external stimuli. In this case, respiration is automatic; a tail kick reflex keeps the blowhole above the water if necessary

Attack on humans

Although dolphins generally interact well with humans, attacks have still occurred, most of them resulting in serious injuries and even death. The attacks can occur both in the wild and captivity. Tilikum at SeaWorld. In 2010 he attacked and killed his trainerDawn Brancheau, in his third fatal incident. There is a registered occurrence in the coast of Brazil in 1994, when a man died after being attacked by a bottlenose dolphin named Tião. While dolphin attacks occur far less frequently than attacks by other sea animals, such as sharks, some scientists are worried about the careless programs of human-dolphin interaction. Dr. Andrew J. Read, a biologist at the Duke University Marine Laboratory who studies dolphin attacks, points out that dolphins are large and wild predators, so people should be more careful when they interact with them. Dolphins’ reproductive organs are located on the underside of the body. Males have two slits, one concealing their opposable penis and one further behind for the anus. The male dolphins have been observed using their genitals to grab onto their victims or lovers to engage in coitus. The female has one genital slit, housing the vagina and the anus. Two mammary slits are positioned on either side of the female’s genital slit. Most dolphins have acute eyesight, both in and out of the water, and they can hear frequencies ten times or more above the upper limit of adult human hearing. Though they have a small ear opening on each side of their head, it is believed hearing underwater is also, if not exclusively, done with the lower jaw, which conducts sound to the middle ear via a fat-filled cavity in the lower jaw bone. Hearing is also used for echolocation, which all dolphins have. Dolphin teeth are believed to function as antennae to receive incoming sound and to pinpoint the exact location of an object. Beyond locating an object, echolocation also provides the animal with an idea on the object’s shape and size, though how exactly this works is not yet understood. The Indus Dolphin is effectively blind, however it should still be considered extremely dangerous. Their inability to see prevents them from recognizing the difference between a dolphin or a swimmer. This has caused them to assault humans without even being aware. Researchers believe that it is because not much light penetrates the waters of the Indus river (due to suspended sediments), making eyes futile. References

  1. ^ “mereswine – definition and meaning of mereswine at Wordnik.com”. www.wordnik.com.http://www.wordnik.com/words/mereswine. Retrieved 2010-06-28.
  2. ^ “Aggression in bottlenose dolphins: evidence for sexual coercion, male-male competition, and female tolerance through analysis of tooth-rake marks and behavior”. 2005. Archived from the original on August 20, 2007.http://web.archive.org/web/20070820063434/http://www.monkeymiadolphins.org/Pdf/Scott+et+al+2005.pdf. Retrieved September 18, 2007.
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  4. a b William Broad (1999-07-06). “An article on the aggressive nature of dolphins”. Fishingnj.org. http://www.fishingnj.org/artdolphagress.htm. Retrieved 2011-07-25.
  5. ^ Pilkington, Ed (February 25, 2010). “Killer whale Tilikum to be spared after drowning trainer by ponytail”The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/feb/25/killer-whale-tilikum-drowned-trainer-hair.
  6. ^ Wong, David. “The 6 Cutest Animals That Can Still Destroy You”. Cracked.com.http://www.cracked.com/article_15853_the-6-cutest-animals-that-can-still-destroy-you.html. Retrieved 2011-07-25.
  7. ^ “Male Dolphin Kills Man”. Science-frontiers.com. http://www.science-frontiers.com/sf101/sf101b07.htm. Retrieved 2011-07-25.
  8. ^ “LONE DOLPHINS – FRIEND OR FOE?”. BBC. 2002-09-09.http://www.bbc.co.uk/insideout/south/series1/lone-dolphins.shtml. Retrieved 2012-02-05.

Further reading

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