HOW DO DOLPHINS BREATH WHEN THEY SLEEP?
As dolphins are mammals and not fish, they possess lungs instead of gills. This means that they are unable to absorb oxygen directly from the water, and - like us - they get their oxygen by breathing air directly from the atmosphere.
However, this can cause problems if your body has evolved to live in the ocean over millions of years. Why?Because, if you live underwater and you are asleep, how do you breath? Well, dolphins have to be conscious to breath. This means that they cannot go into a full deep sleep, because then they would suffocate. However, dolphins have managed to solve this by letting one half of their brain sleep at a time. This has been determined by doing EEG studies on dolphins. These studies have now shown that dolphins sleep about 8 hours day in this fashion.
How do dolphins breath when they sleep underwater?
In order to breath when they are asleep, female dolphins tend to lie on the surface with their blow holes exposed to the air. However, male dolphins sleep just below the surface, rising to the surface to breath periodically as a reflex action. If the dolphin is asleep in reasonably shallow waters then it is not uncommon for the dolphin to rest on the bottom before rising to the surface to breath
So now you know.
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Based on an article from http://www.dolphinear.com/data/dolphins.htm
Photo care of http://abcnews.go.com/topics/entertainment/music/r.e.m.htm