Q:

How long have dolphins been around?

A:

Quick Answer

Evolutionary biologists believe that dolphins emerged 20 to 25 million years ago during the early Miocene period. Modern species may trace to kentriodontids, which are small-toothed whales believed to have the echolocating ability as modern dolphins do.

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Full Answer

The earliest proto-whale, Pakicetus, was a hoofed mammal related to the ancestors of modern deer, goats and cattle that are referred to as artiodactyls or even-toed ungulates. Pakicetus fossils were discovered in northern Pakistan in 1979 and were dated to about 50 million years ago. These animals were probably semi-aquatic waders. The first fully aquatic whales, basilosaurids and dorontids, date to the late Eocene period 41 to 35 million years ago, and the first toothed whales appeared about 33 million years ago.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How do dolphins mate?

    A:

    Dolphins mate in much the same way as humans by expressing sexual attraction and desire, and when the time is right, the male enters the female to deposit his sperm. Unlike human mating, the actual dolphin mating process only lasts a few seconds.

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  • Q:

    How do dolphins live?

    A:

    Dolphins are equipped with blowholes on the crowns of their heads through which they breathe air when they reach the surface of the water. They are capable of holding their breath for up to 10 minutes.

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  • Q:

    How do dolphins hear?

    A:

    Dolphins hear when the sounds in the water bounce off the dolphin's jaw bone into the middle ear. Dolphins can hear far better than humans and their hearing is even better than that of dogs.

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  • Q:

    How long do dolphins live?

    A:

    Wild dolphins usually live for between 25 to 30 years, while dolphins in captivity live to be around 40 years old on average. Few dolphins in the wild die of old age.

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