If Dolphins Are Mammals and All Mammals Have Hair, Why Aren't Dolphins Hairy?

iStock/alexxx1981
iStock/alexxx1981

When it comes to being mammal, dolphins fit the bill in all respects. They give birth to live young and nurse them. They're warm-blooded. They have lungs and breathe air.

They're also descendants of terrestrial mammals from the Cetartiodactyla clade, which also includes pigs, cows, hippos, camels, and other even-toed ungulates. But they left life on land some 50 million years ago.

If you've gotten to pet one at an aquarium, though, you've noticed that dolphins lack the one thing all other mammals have: hair.

What gives? How come they get to be in the mammal club?

Well, kids, get ready for this: Dolphins are born with mustaches.

Yes, mustaches. Now, I'm not talking about a full-blown Fu Manchu or even a decent handlebar, but a rim of short hairs around their rostrum (or snout). The 'stache helps newborn dolphins locate and feel their mother for the first few days of nursing and falls off after a week or so because of a natural depilatory process. It's a fact that Gillette has yet to exploit.

Do You Know the Fun Terms for These Groups of Animals?

Massive Swarms of Migrating Dragonflies Are So Large They’re Popping Up on Weather Radar

emprised/iStock via Getty Images
emprised/iStock via Getty Images

What do Virginia, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Ohio all have in common? Epic swarms of dragonflies, among other things.

WSLS-TV reports that this week, weather radar registered what might first appear to be late summer rain showers. Instead, the green blotches turned out to be swarms of dragonflies—possibly green darners, a type of dragonfly that migrates south during the fall.

Norman Johnson, a professor of entomology at The Ohio State University, told CNN that although these swarms happen occasionally, they’re definitely not a regular occurrence. He thinks the dragonflies, which usually prefer to travel alone, may form packs based on certain weather conditions. If that sounds vague, it’s because it is: Johnson said that entomologists haven’t worked out all the details when it comes to dragonfly migration. They do know that the airborne insects cover an average of eight miles per day, while some overachievers can fly as far as 86.

Based on the radar footage shared by the National Weather Service’s Cleveland Office, the dragonfly clouds seem almost menacing. But, while swarms of any insect species aren’t exactly delightful, these creatures are both harmless and surprisingly beautiful, at least up close. Anna Barnett, a resident of Jeromesville, Ohio, even told CNN that witnessing the natural phenomenon was “amazing!”

Amazing as it may be to see, it’s hard to hear news about unpredictable animal behavior without wondering if it’s related in some way to Earth’s rising temperatures. After all, climate change has already affected wasps in Alabama, polar bears in Russia, and no doubt countless other animal species around the world.

[h/t WSLW-TV]

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