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:

    Where do dolphins live?

    A:

    The 42 known species of dolphins live in the waters of oceans and rivers all over the world. Dolphins are found everywhere, from shallow coastal waters to the deep of the open ocean, and they migrate to and from certain areas due to water temperature and food availability.

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  • Q:

    What are the adaptations of dolphins?

    A:

    Among the adaptations of dolphins are hydrodynamic bodies, blowholes on top of their heads, flippers and flukes and echolocation. Some scientists believe that dolphins are able to enjoy the benefits of sleep even while they're in the water by having one half of their brains alert and the other shut down.

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  • Q:

    Do dolphins mate for life?

    A:

    Dolphins do not mate for life. A pair of dolphins typically engages in mating for a few days, but then the male goes on to mate with other females.

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  • Q:

    Do dolphins have teeth?

    A:

    All dolphins have conical teeth that are used for biting and trapping prey, such as crustaceans and fish, but are not used for chewing. Dolphins swallow their prey whole. Dolphins fall into the odontoceti, or "toothed whale," suborder of cetaceans, the order that includes all whales, dolphins and porpoises.

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