Dolphins vs. Whales & Porpoises
The Ocean Environment
External Features
Ventral Features & Male Vs. Female
Fin Structure & Function
Brain & Intelligence
Blowhole & Breathing
Mouth & Teeth
Pregnancy & Birth
Mother & Calf
Jumping & Synchronous Behavior
Behavior In The Water
Bubble Rings
Socialization Behavior
Health Assessment
Dolphins In Captivity
The Captive Habitat
About Me
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The swollen portion of the dolphin's head is called its melon. A muscular flap covers a small opening called the "blowhole" in the center of the melon. The blowhole allows air to pass into the lungs and allows carbon dioxide and other gaseous wastes to be expelled from the lungs.

Toothed whales like dolphins and porpoises have single blowholes on their melons, whereas true (baleen) whales have two. The melon houses, among other things, many small air sacs which are used to produce click vibrations. These vibrations pass outward through the salt water, strike an object and bounce back for interpretation. The melon is able to focus its "beam" of clicks toward objects of interest. This process of object size, shape, distance, thickness and direction identification is called echolocation (see the "echolocation" section of this site for further information). These click vibrations return to the animal's teeth, which act like antennae to collect the sound waves and pass them to the lower jaw bone. They collect within a fatty area in the lower jaw bone, where they are then sent to the inner ear bones and on to the brain via the auditory nerve. The dolphin’s echolocation system can identify an object as small as a ping pong ball as far away as 100 yards.

In addition, the various colorful patterns on the dolphin’s melon, along with the animal’s fin structure and signature whistle, serve to identify individual dolphins.

Site Content
Understanddolphins.com contains information condensed from a number of reputable technical sources, peer reviewed journal articles, and respected dolphin research facilities, as well as from my personal experiences and observations as a dolphin VIP Tour Guide and Educator.
I have made every attempt to support the information presented in this site with video and still photographic images. On a regular basis I plan to produce more of these images and will continue to update the site with these as well as with any new and scientifically verified information which becomes available.

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