Monday, 4 August 2014

How Dolphin Radar Works

Welcome back my fellow learners. Today we are going to learn how a dolphins radar works, and how this knowledge has helped mankind.

A dolphin uses sound to see size, shape, and speed of objects many yards away. Fascinating as well as complex, a dolphin’s natural sonar, is so precise it determines the difference between a ping pong ball and a golf ball solely on its density. Even though humans have done intense research on these highly intelligent marine mammals for several decades, a lot of their acoustical world is still a mystery.

One of the keys to dolphin radar is due to water’s superb conduction of sound. Sound waves travel faster in water than in air. Dolphins use this in ways which would make a superhero jealous. The the help of nasal sacs in their heads, dolphins send fast clicks which pass through their forehead. The sound is then focused and beamed out in front of it. The sound wave rockets through water, and bounces off the object which is under investigation, and is then bounced back to the dolphin. Fat filled cavities in the dolphin’s jaw get this information and then auditory nerves take it to the middle ear and brain, where a picture is then created.

Although dolphins have not vocal cords, they still talk using sounds. A mother dolphin will whistle to her newborn to imprint a signature whistle to her baby so this will enable it to recognize her.

Dolphin defenders object to the navy’s use of sonar, which they use to scan and investigate the ocean, stating it harms the dolphins. They refer to incidents like the beaching of four different species of whale off the coast of the Bahamas in 2000, following the navy's sonar exercises within the area. Marine mammals strand themselves for various reasons, but investigations did confirm that navy sonar created the disaster in the Bahamas. Researchers are not sure how man made sonar is affecting marine mammals. Some think sounds could scare or disorient marine mammals and make them flee to the water’s surface, this results in a kind of decompression sickness which damages sensory organs and is believed to cause internal bleeding.

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