Head trainer Teri Turner Bolton looks out at two young adult male dolphins, Hector and Han, whose beaks, or rostra, are poking above the water as they eagerly await a command. But the scientists at RIMS are more interested in how the dolphins think than in what they can do.
Bolton presses her palms together over her head, the signal to innovate, and then puts her fists together, the sign for “tandem.” With those two gestures, she has instructed the dolphins to show her a behavior she hasn’t seen during this session and to do it in unison. To read on, instantly download this supplement today after signing up to National Geographic magazineNational Geographic is un-missable reading for anyone who takes an interest in the world around them.
Joshua Foer wrote Moonwalking With Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything. Fieldwork was partially funded by Hussain Aga Khan and his organization, Focused on Nature. This is the first post in a new series that celebrates the extraordinary diversity of freshwater ecosystems around the world. This week, we take a look at the Irrawaddy dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris), a rare species of freshwater dolphin that is highly vulnerable to extinction due to pollution, dams, and diversions in the rivers it calls home. Tjiu warns that the area is seeing increasing charcoal production, threatening the flooded mangrove forests that serve as key habitat to the Irrawaddy dolphin.
According to WWF, there are about 6,000 Irrawaddy dolphins left in the wild, with about 5,800 of them living in Bangladesh. Given all the horrible things humans have done – this Irrawaddy dolphin should not be existing.
Great work Brian ,I have also seen these lovely creatures recently in the waters of chilka in Orissa (India). Watched a documentary on the Amazon where rare dolphins classed us Mythical Creatures live in the Amazon River, wondering if the Santarem Factory illegally set up on the river for the questionable soya crop bean export that is not only ruining the lives of the people who live in the Amazon Forest but is also threatening the number or marine life there? National Geographic VoicesResearchers, conservationists, and others around the world share stories and commentary on the National Geographic Society's conversation platform Voices. Society Field Inspection 2016: Gulf of CaliforniaDescribed by Jacques Cousteau as the "aquarium of the world," the Gulf of California in Mexico is threatened by coastal development, climate change, and other human activities. Support National GeographicWe've supported more than 11,000 grants to scientists and others in the field.Learn more about our work.
Two years after being discovered deep in a South African cave, the 1,500 fossils excavated during the Rising Star Expedition have been identified as belonging to a previously unknown early human relative that National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Lee Berger and team have named Homo naledi.
With at least 15 individuals of all ages and both sexes represented, the find adds an unprecedented amount of information to our understanding of early human evolution in Africa. In addition, the absence of any other animal remains or large debris in the fossil chamber strongly suggests that these non-human beings intentionally deposited their dead within this cave. BANABA ISLAND, Kiribati—Asbestos dust covers the floors of Banaba’s crumbling colonial houses, buildings, and schools. The Bolivian river dolphin is a separate species from the Amazon river dolphin, scientists announced recently. Thousands of years ago a powerful drought dried up Brazil's Madeira River, causing a "radical separation" as dolphin populations were caught on different sides of the newly created rapids, said researcher Manuel Ruiz-Garcia.
The announcement was made at a recent conservation workshop in Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia.
Ruiz-Garcia took DNA samples from 40 river dolphins from Bolivia and 56 from Colombia by extracting tissue from their tail muscles.
A limited comparison of the DNA revealed significant genetic differences between the two river-dolphin populations.
This led Ruiz-Garcia to initially estimate that the species separated five to six million years ago.

But after comparing 32 more genes from DNA in another 40 Bolivian dolphins and about 60 Colombian and Peruvian dolphins, he concluded that the separation happened much sooner—about 100,000 to 500,000 years ago. Listen to your favorite National Geographic news daily, anytime, anywhere from your mobile phone.
When one of Earth’s smartest creatures vocalizes, it fuels a heated debate among scientists: Are dolphins actually speaking a complex language?
Relative to body size, the brains of bottlenose dolphins, like these at the Roatán Institute for Marine Sciences in Honduras, are among the largest in the animal kingdom.
An orca, the largest dolphin, thrusts itself onto the beach at Punta Norte, Argentina, to grab a sea lion pup. Denise Herzing (at right), who studies dolphins off the Bahamas, wears a computer that produces dolphin whistles she hopes will lay the foundation for a shared vocabulary. In Florida Bay bottlenose dolphins have invented a unique way of capturing mullet fish, by encircling them with curtains of whipped-up mud. Having scanned the ocean bottom with echolocation to find hidden fish, a dolphin off the coast of Bimini in the Bahamas goes vertical, digging the fish out of the sand with its rostrum, or beak.
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Take a deep breath, gang, and join NG Kids as we learn ten fab facts about one seriously splash-tastic sea creature - the bottlenose dolphin!
1) Bottlenose dolphins are marine mammals that live in tropical and temperate oceans (oceans with mild temperatures) around the world.
JuanDear Techie Kids,The video you posted is fatnsatic for hearing all the different clicks and whistles that dolphins make! The bottlenose dolphins at the Roatan Institute for Marine Sciences (RIMS), a resort and research institution on an island off the coast of Honduras, are old pros at dolphin performance art. When given the hand signal to “innovate,” Hector and Han know to dip below the surface and blow a bubble, or vault out of the water, or dive down to the ocean floor, or perform any of the dozen or so other maneuvers in their repertoire—but not to repeat anything they’ve already done during that session.
Our special features come to life with unrivalled, compelling journalism and superb photography. You will benefit from this wealth of knowledge every month – and as a special bonus National Geographic are offering instant access to the feature above when you place your order. Brian Skerry, a contributing photographer since 1998, was named a National Geographic photography fellow in 2014. Every Friday, we’ll present a new species, and examine what each can teach us about the importance of preserving, and in some cases restoring, freshwater habitats. But they are unlikely to survive in large numbers unless countries get serious about protecting and restoring river habitats. If I may add as being a native of Myanmar, I cannot believe why, whether unintentional or deliberate, that the namesake of the dolphin, the Irrawaddy river, would be switched to the name that we call in our language (Ayeyarwaddi) as such to be different. If what it takes is to restore the rivers ecosystems we must do it and if what it takes is to protect them ,,simple lets do that, period.
Sorry, tired of both sides of the arguement when it comes to how this planet should be managed.
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To learn firsthand what's going on in and around this marine treasure of global importance, the National Geographic Society sent its top scientists and officials to the region in January 2016.
A dusky dolphin catapulting through the air off the coast of Patagonia may be sending a signal to other dolphins: The food here is good. These two bottlenose dolphins off the Florida Keys quickly learned that the only way to pull the cap off a PVC pipe filled with fish was to cooperate.

At the Six Flags park in Vallejo, California, a bottlenose dolphin figures out how to use his rostrum to guide a ball made of edible gelatin out of a maze of pipes. When the fish leap over the mud rings to escape, they land in the waiting mouths of other dolphins.
Play is an important part of the social lives of dolphins and is believed to be crucial to their cognitive development.
If you see your picture featured and don't want it to be, email us with the link and we will take it down right away. This includes the waters off the UK and Ireland, where you can spot them swimming and playing in bays and river estuaries!2) These beautiful creatures have a short thick beak (as their name suggests!) and a curved mouth, giving the appearance that they are always smiling. It is pretty amazing that they can tell where fish are, and where they are going, just by listening to the echo that bounces off them.One interesting fact about dolphins is they sleep by resting just one half of their brain at a time, with one eye open. They’ve been trained to corkscrew through the air on command, skate backward across the surface of the water while standing upright on their tails, and wave their pectoral fins at the tourists who arrive several times a week on cruise ships. Incredibly, they usually understand that they’re supposed to keep trying some new behavior each session.
They toured the desert islands off the southeastern coast of the Baja Peninsula and they listened to presentations by more than a dozen experts, including several whose Baja California research is funded by the Society. This way they can see if predators are coming and they can also rise to the surface to breathe while they are asleep!I lived in the tropical country of Belize for about a year so I got to see some dolphins, but lots of bats! In these groups they play and hunt together, as well as cooperate to raise young dolphin calves and help each other.4) Bottlenose dolphins are super swimmers, gliding through the water using their curved dorsal fin on their back, a powerful tail and pointed flippers. Belize has lots of rainforest covered hills with limestone caves in them, and I explored some of the caves. They can reach speeds over 30km an hour and dive as deep as 250m below the surface!5) These cool creatures are awesome acrobats, too, and can be seen flipping (or 'breaching') out of the water.
There were always bats hanging from the ceiling that I could look at close up with my headlamp. In fact, they can launch themselves up to five meters out of the water before crashing back down with a splash! Some of them would be flying around in the cave in total darkness, and they would zoom right in front of me. There are different theories as to why they do this - it could be to get a better view of things in the distance, clean parasites off their bodies, communicate with other pods or just for good fun!6) Although they live underwater, the bottlenose dolphin must come up to the surface to breath air. All of a sudden I would see them flash through the light from my headlamp, just inches from my face. These clever creatures can open this hole when inhaling and exhaling out of the water, and close it when below the ocean surface. They can hold their breath underwater for around seven minutes.7) Bottlenose dolphins are kings of communication! When the clicking sounds hit an object in the water - such as a rock or fish - they bounce back to the dolphin as echoes.
Cool, eh?9) Carnivores, our finned friends eat mostly fish, but will also eat crustaceans such as shrimp and squid, too.10) Thankfully, bottlenose dolphins are not classed as endangered.
However, illegal hunting, fishing nets and pollution pose threats to these incredible creatures.Love reading about sea life?

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