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Sonic the Dolphin
January 20, 2008 12:37 PM   Subscribe

Dolphins create rings of air bubbles!

When you spend your life in the water, I guess you tend to develop a good intuition for its subtleties. Dolphins have been observed to create bubble rings by exhaling air carefully in the middle of the vortices caused by the motion of their fins through the water, among other techniques. Besides being nice to look at (and a neat demonstration of fluid mechanics), this phenomenon also might throw some light on dolphin cognition, since the skill to create the rings is a bit subtle and tends to be taught from one dolphin to the next via careful observation and practice. I'm also intrigued by the report that they seem to be using sonar to locate the vortex in the water, since that would be a fairly amazing bit of audio analysis. This video is dedicated to the best employee at Sea World.
posted by proj08 (47 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow. This is certainly one of the coolest things I've seen in months.
posted by chimaera at 12:45 PM on January 20, 2008


I was hoping for bubble toroids... and was not disappointed. Impressive
posted by TheJoven at 12:47 PM on January 20, 2008


Wow, amazing!

Such fun loving creatures...let's catch them and imprison them in a tank and train them to do tricks!
posted by bonefish at 12:48 PM on January 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


Fun post, proj08!
(Warning: Sappy "Old-Yeller-oboe-makes-me-quiver-at-the-wonders-of-their-majesties soundtrack" may cause convulsions...)
posted by Dizzy at 12:50 PM on January 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


O
posted by Free word order! at 12:51 PM on January 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


That's so cool. Smart little guys, ain't they?
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 12:51 PM on January 20, 2008


Smart, yes. Little, no. Have you ever been near one? They're gigantor!
posted by grumblebee at 12:52 PM on January 20, 2008


Very cool! Thanks!
posted by tickingclock at 12:53 PM on January 20, 2008


I love when s/he flips the ring around at about 45 seconds.
posted by danb at 12:58 PM on January 20, 2008 [3 favorites]


Yep, very cool.
posted by doctor_negative at 1:07 PM on January 20, 2008


neat! thanks!
posted by Zangal at 1:10 PM on January 20, 2008


Such fun loving creatures...

Yep, so I hear.
posted by miss lynnster at 1:10 PM on January 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow. That's cool as hell.
posted by absalom at 1:13 PM on January 20, 2008


How do you say, "What's your major?" in Dolphin?
posted by Dizzy at 1:13 PM on January 20, 2008


How to do it yourself. Or get a machine to do it for you.
posted by pombe at 1:17 PM on January 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


The creation of the ring is incredible enough, but the manipulation of it astounding behavior. Brilliant creatures, dolphins. Now I'm not so impressed with my Betta's bubble nests.

Heh--didn't hear the soundtrack 'cause I had a YouTube tab running with Captain Beefheart & Frank Zappa's Willie the Pimp. The violin matches better, anyhow.
posted by bonobo at 1:18 PM on January 20, 2008


I may be the only one who would notice this, but the intrumental song in the background is "No One Is Alone" from Stephen Sondheim's (fantastic) musical, Into the Woods. [here's a youtube video of the song]

Also: cool dolphins! :)
posted by Zephyrial at 1:19 PM on January 20, 2008


That is amazing.

Here in Florida it's a pretty common thing to see dolphins if you go to the shore. In fact, I'd have to say that I can't think of a time that I've been in the Gulf and not seen them.

They're acctually pretty dangerous, too. They'll knock shore-fishermen over, just for a giggle. And grumblebee's right; they're pretty huge. Strong, too.
posted by Pecinpah at 1:24 PM on January 20, 2008


This is blowing my mind in the best possible way.
posted by tula at 1:28 PM on January 20, 2008


That was remarkably sweet. It's an impressive demonstration of their abilities and may certainly reveal valuable insight into their intelligence and perceptions, but all that aside, it looked like it was a fun thing for them to do. And that is cool.
posted by quin at 1:34 PM on January 20, 2008


Further to miss lynnster.
posted by doublesix at 1:37 PM on January 20, 2008


I just got a rather racy text message from a dolphin by the name of Debby.
Said she "Wants 2 Party."
Please advise.
posted by Dizzy at 1:44 PM on January 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm a little afraid to run anything from a site that says "CLICK HOT BEVERLY 30 FOR A GOOD TIME". It isn't going to load my computer up with malware, is it?
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 1:52 PM on January 20, 2008


Wait a second--- dolphins don't have thumbs.
You need thumbs to text, right?
RIGHT?

Then I probly shouldn't have given her my mom's VISA info.
posted by Dizzy at 1:56 PM on January 20, 2008


Holy Fuck
posted by jontyjago at 2:28 PM on January 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wonderful!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:35 PM on January 20, 2008


Anyone who devoted some time to playing Ecco: the Dolphin was already aware of this ring power in some weird way. They've got two brains for crying out loud.
posted by Curry at 2:36 PM on January 20, 2008


Dont you mean, "Ecco the Dolphin"? I dont get it. Nevermind, forget I said anything
posted by subaruwrx at 2:44 PM on January 20, 2008


That's cute and all, but according to Wanda Sykes dolphins are racist.
posted by billyfleetwood at 2:47 PM on January 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Smoke rings in water! Rock.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 2:48 PM on January 20, 2008


this is amazing! they also use bubbles to hunt. and they use spongy tools!
posted by cubby at 2:50 PM on January 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


John Lilly thread
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:50 PM on January 20, 2008


So Long and Thanks for All the Fish (from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie)
posted by bonobo at 2:53 PM on January 20, 2008


Seems like every platformer has a variant of a "steering through the bubbles" game. I now know who to blame. Curse you, dolphins and your bubbles too!
posted by artifarce at 2:57 PM on January 20, 2008


More cetacean goodness, including bubbles, can be found here.
posted by TedW at 2:58 PM on January 20, 2008


This dolphin chick (I think it was a chick; she wasn't wearing underwear but had a tat like I saw on Angelina Jolie in the Us Magazine '07 Yearly Round-Up Double Issue) came to my house about an hour ago and tried to drop off about $2000 of penis cream. Said I'd paid for it with my VISA and it wasn't refundable or anything.
So.
My question is:
How many days should I wait before calling her back for lunch or something? (I'm thinking casual, maybe sushi.)
Thoughts?
posted by Dizzy at 3:01 PM on January 20, 2008


Almost forgot:
I'm a non-smoker.
Do they make a waterproof patch?
posted by Dizzy at 3:03 PM on January 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Awesome.
posted by inconsequentialist at 3:18 PM on January 20, 2008


Aww, they're like boys on a parking lot doing tricks with a football.
posted by jouke at 3:28 PM on January 20, 2008


It is heartbreaking to watch this and then notice the hands pressed against the glass in the foreground, and realize these beautiful creatures are being held captive in a concrete tank.
posted by Enroute at 3:59 PM on January 20, 2008


Dolphins: Once again proving they are better than us or anything else that lives and breathes on this planet.

Cool post, thanks!
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:45 PM on January 20, 2008


Such fun loving creatures...let's catch them and imprison them in a tank and train them to do tricks!

bonefish, you just broke my heart, a little bit.
posted by pineapple at 5:17 PM on January 20, 2008


Well, that's about the coolest thing I've see in a while -- except for the concrete tank part.
posted by wsg at 5:39 PM on January 20, 2008


The dogs of the ocean.
posted by juiceCake at 5:59 PM on January 20, 2008


How much research has really been done on how smart dolphins are? I mean, they have a relatiely advanced communication system, they're creative and playful, although somewhat limited in toolmaking and -use because of their shape, I suppose.

But all this stuff makes me wonder if we couldn't communicate with them. They have a lot of brain, it seems possible that they're capable of abstract thought.

And if they're not, let's get with the uplifting already. They seem like excellent candidates.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 7:19 PM on January 20, 2008



And if we're not, let's get with the uplifting already. We seem like excellent candidates.


F.T.F.Y.
posted by monkeyx-uk at 8:50 PM on January 20, 2008


But all this stuff makes me wonder if we couldn't communicate with them.

Fa loves Pa!

Amazing video, proj08, thanks.
posted by IcyJuly at 11:43 AM on January 21, 2008


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