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south Carolina Dolphins



Did you know that South Carolina dolphins are different from the Bottlenose dolphins that live offshore in the ocean? 

Researchers with NOAA and the University of Miami completed a study in 2023 of the skeletons of bottlenose dolphins found stranded on our coastal beaches and discovered a whole new species of dolphin. The scientists discovered that the new species of dolphin, the Tamanend's Bottlenose Dolphin, is smaller than the offshore dolphins that swim in the open seas. South Carolina dolphins are closely related to the dolphins that swim in the Gulf of Mexico and the islands of the Caribbean. In total, there are forty-three different species of dolphins. 

The coolest thing about dolphins is how socially intelligent they are. Their brains are even bigger than humans! Males, females, aunts, and cousins work together as a team (called a pod) to catch prey and protect newborn infants. They also exhibit traits of empathy and grief.  Dolphins are also mammels like us! That means they are born alive, unlike birds, reptiles, and fish.  In fact, mother dolphins bond with their young for six to seven years before having more babies. They can swim up to twenty-five miles an hour, and they live to be between 20 and 50 years old. 

Because dolphins are so smart, it is important not to feed them in the wild. Human contact with dolphins can change their behavior and make them more vulnerable to predators like sharks and engine propellers. 

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