There are generally many different classifications of dolphins, and the names sometimes are remiss of physical or personal characteristics of the dolphin. In today’s World the Dolphin is among one of the most popular variances of animal species in the world. With almost forty species of dolphin in seventeen genera Scientists have taken great care to try and specify with great detail the distinct and sometimes minute differences between the species.

Classification of a Dolphin

Let us start with the family Delphinade which is the largest in the Cetacean order, and relatively recent: dolphins evolved about ten million years ago, during the Miocene. Dolphins are among the most intelligent animals and their often-friendly appearance and seemingly playful attitude have made them popular in past and current human culture. Yet where does the scientific name for dolphins come from? The name is originally from Ancient Greek delphís; “dolphin”, which was related to the Greek delphys; “womb”. The animal’s name can therefore be interpreted as meaning “a ‘fish’ with a womb”. The name was transmitted via the Latin delphinus, Middle Latin dolfinus and the Old French daulphin, which reintroduced the ph into the word, and in modern times we simply know them as the dolphin.

Cetacean Order

DolphinsMore importantly than the origin we need to understand the actual scientific classifications of each dolphin. We will go over each dolphin Genus followed by their name and their scientific class. First up the Genus Delphinus Long-Beaked Common Dolphin, Delphinus capensis Short Beaked common dolphin, Delphinus delphis, Then under the Genus Tursiops we have both the Common Bottlenose Dolphin, Tursiops truncates, Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin, Tursiops aduncus Genus Lissodelphis Northern Rightwhale Dolphin, Lissodelphis borealis Southern Rightwhale Dolphin, Lissodelphis peronii Genus Sotalia Tucuxi, Sotalia fluviatilis Costero, Sotalia guianensis. Here is just a list of some of the other Dolphin categories, “(Provided and certified by Wikepedia)”.

  • Genus Sousa
    * Indo-Pacific Hump-backed Dolphin, Sousa chinensis.
    * Chinese White Dolphin (the Chinese variant), Sousa chinensis chinensis.
    * Atlantic Humpbacked Dolphin, Sousa teuszii.
  • Genus Stenella
    * Atlantic Spotted Dolphin, Stenella frontalis
    * Clymene Dolphin, Stenella clymene
    * Pantropical Spotted Dolphin, Stenella attenuata
    * Spinner Dolphin, Stenella longirostris
    * Striped Dolphin, Stenella coeruleoalba
  • Genus Steno
    * Rough-Toothed Dolphin, Steno bredanensis
    * Genus Cephalorhynchus
    * Chilean Dolphin, Cephalorhynchus eutropia
    * Commerson’s Dolphin, Cephalorhynchus commersonii
    * Heaviside’s Dolphin, Cephalorhynchus heavisidii
    * Hector’s Dolphin, Cephalorhynchus hectori

Body Type

Dolphins have a streamlined fusiform body, adapted for fast swimming. The tail fin, called the fluke, is used for propulsion, while the pectoral fins together with the entire tail section provide directional control. The dorsal fin, in those species that have one, provides stability while swimming. Though it varies per species, basic coloration patterns are shades of gray usually with a lighter underside, often with lines and patches of different hue and contrast. The head contains the melon, a round organ used for echolocation. In many species, elongated jaws form a distinct beak; species such as the Bottlenose have a curved mouth, which looks like a fixed smile. Some species have up to 250 teeth. Dolphins breathe through a blowhole on top of their head. The trachea is anterior to the brain. The dolphin brain is large and highly complex and is different in structure from that of most land mammals. Unlike most mammals, dolphins do not have hair, except for a few hairs around the tip of their rostrum, which they lose shortly before or after birth.

The only exception to this is the Boto river dolphin, which has persistent small hairs on the rostrum. Dolphin’s reproductive organs are located on the underside of the body. Males have two slits, one concealing the penis and one further behind for the anus. The female has one genital slit, housing the vagina and the anus. A mammary slit is positioned on either side of the female’s genital slit. A recent study at the US National Marine Mammal Foundation revealed that dolphins are the only animals other than humans that develop a natural form of Type 2 Diabetes, which may lead to a better understanding of the disease and new treatments for both humans and dolphins.

Scientific Studies

Overall the scientific study of dolphins has greatly expanded our knowledge of the species, these creatures that are still considered a modern marvel to this day, they continue to astound and baffle scientists with riveting new facts that in essence not only teaches us about the dolphins but also gives us possible insight unto our own existences, for the dolphin even scientifically is not that far off from the average human, they behave like us, they mimic us in many social and emotional ways, and like us they fall ill to all the same illnesses and diseases, and if we can see how they cure and deal with these dilemmas maybe it will further provide a hint as to how we may solve our own.

 

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