The Lives of Whales and Dolphins: From the American Museum by Richard C. Connor, Dawn M. Peterson

By Richard C. Connor, Dawn M. Peterson

An obtainable and lavishly illustrated exploration of the realm of whales and dolphins, according to the most recent learn, follows the seventy-five species of those creatures from start via all elements in their attention-grabbing lives. 10,000 first printing

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P a t c h e s o f c o l o r o r p i g m e n t a t i o n may a c t u a l l y b e m o v e m e n t a n d o r i e n t a t i o n signals. Many c e t a c e a n species have contrasting color around the pectoral flipper. T h e sudden appearance of such a color may be an indication that the animal is c h a n g i n g direction and could serve to c o o r d i n a t e H o w W H A L E S A N D D O L P H I N S PERCEIVE THEIR WORLD the m o v e m e n t of individuals in a school. Such coordination may be critical for individuals that are trying to escape predators.

Scientists o n c e believed that they c o u l d n o t . T h e brain of an adult toothed whale (odontocete) does n o t have an o l f a c t o r y b u l b a n d those in t h e b a l e e n whales (mysticetes) are greatly r e d u c e d . Researchers looking for taste b u d s in various o d o n t o c e t e s r e p o r t e d mixed results, with H o w W H A L E S A N D D O L P H I N S PERCEIVE THEIR W O R L D some studies on the same species contradicting each other. Studies have shown, however, that dolphins have some ability t o taste.

Prey is n o t always plentiful n o r easy to catch. Moreover, cetaceans must c o m p e t e for food. W h e n food is a b u n d a n t , g r o u p size may reflect that; schools of c o m m o n dolphins in the Black Sea contain as many as three thousand individuals when food is plentiful. Although many species have a p r e f e r r e d food, most cetaceans cannot afford to rely on o n e or a few species of prey. IVES O F W H A L E S A N D D O L P H I N S A gray whale dines on fare found on the ocean's floor.

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