What are dolphins?

Dolphins belong to a group of marine mammals called toothed whales. The word dolphin comes from the Greek delphis, which means dolphin. The toothed whale group, or Odontoceti, includes not only dolphins but also porpoises, river dolphins, and even sperm whales. The dolphin family, Delphinidae, which is part of the toothed whale group, includes dolphins such as the bottlenose, spinner, and spotted dolphins as well as the killer whale, pilot whale, and false killer whale.

Dolphins are mammals

Dolphins are mammals just like humans and have the same basic mammal traits:

  • Warm-blooded: Dolphins maintain a constant body temperature.
  • Possess hair: Dolphins have a few hairs on their rostrum that they lose after birth.
  • Nurse their young: Dolphins have fat-rich milk, which helps the calf gain weight quickly.
  • Breathe air: Dolphins breathe through the blowhole on the top of their head.
  • Give live birth: Dolphin calves are born in the water.