We get to see lots of dolphin activity in and around Salt Run where Charley’s First is docked or when sailing in and off shore. It occurred to me that these intelligent creatures have to rest at some point, so I started looking for answers to the question, When Do Dolphins Sleep and boy was I surprised at the answer. More on that later.
Dolphins are amazing creatures. Some folks believe they are smarter than humans are and in some respects, there’s more than a little justification for that belief. True, dolphins don’t build highways, buildings, hospitals, cure disease, etc. But neither do they need any of those things to live successfully in an extremely hostile environment. They don’t abandon or abuse their young, enslave fellow dolphin, cause other species to go extinct, they don’t pollute their environment, start wars, murder for sport, anger, or greed, blindly follow politicians, or any of those stupid, shortsighted stuff humans are famous for. Sooooo, maybe those saying dolphins are smarter than humans may have a point, eh?
Dolphins possess a rather large brain, much larger than humans do, in fact. Their brain is divided into four lobes instead of three like ours. That fourth lobe hosts all the dolphin’s senses as opposed to separating senses into multiple lobes like the human brain. Some scientists believe this enables them to make extremely complicated judgements way faster than the capability of humans. Albert Flipperstine?
The most extraordinary part (and the subject of this article) is their ability to let one brain lobe sleep/rest while the other lobes pick up the slack and carry on without a hitch. Research suggests that dolphins sleep an average of 8 hours per day, rotating in two-hour increments; each part of the brain gets the rest it needs. How cool is THAT?
Imagine what kind of physical shape you’d be in if you could swim 24/7 and never miss a wink of sleep! No wonder they are such fine physically fit specimens despite continually feeding on surrounding baitfish.
Move over Spider Man, Aqua Man, and all you other weeny super human heroes. Flipper is in the house…or…ah…water.
Interested in a bit more reading? Check out these links to learn more interesting facts about our Aquatic cousins.