Day 11: Dolphin
The bottlenose dolphin, whose scientific name is Tursiops truncatus, is probably the dolphin most familiar to the general population because of its adaptability of living in human care. Bottlenose dolphins can be seen in various show and research facilities and have been the "stars" of many movies and television shows. Because of their seeming curiosity about people and their close proximity to various shores and ocean bays, this species is the most studied of all delphinids. The bottlenose is the dolphin most often sighted off the coast and from small boats. In some places in the world, such as Monkey Mia in Australia, wild bottlenose dolphins choose to come into bays and interact with human beings.
Bottlenose dolphins are the largest of the beaked dolphins. There is a definite crease where the rostrum (snout or beak) joins the melon, and the shape of the mouth seems to form a permanent smile. Their bodies are dark gray on the back and sides, fading to a pinkish white belly underneath. Their dorsal fins are falcate, curving slightly to the back. Pectoral fins and flukes are pointed at the tips. Atlantic bottlenose dolphins are usually 6 to 9 feet long at maturity; the Pacific variety often may be larger. The largest member of the entire family Delphinidae is the Orca, better known as the killer whale.