Tuesday 24th January 2017

How do Dolphins Sleep?

One of the greatest things about having kids is that you never know how they are going to enrich your life. Something I never

Dolphins sleep with one eye open.

could have guessed before having a child is that my brain would soon be filled with an abundance of random facts that I had absolutely no use for other than to make me feel a little smarter and to fare better at Trivial Pursuit.

Every day, my six-year-old seems to come home with a new random stat. White animals don’t hibernate. Dentures used to be made with hippo teeth. A flamingo can only eat when it’s head is upside down.

Sadly just as frequently he will ask me questions; which more often than not I do not know the answer too. Some are about religion and the afterlife and are a little easier to fake it and a little more difficult to come up with anything concrete. But for others such as: “How do dolphins sleep?” I’m so thankful I live in the age of Professor Google.

What did my parents do when I came up with questions like this? Did they admit that adults don’t know everything? Make something up?

Thanks to the Internet I can still play all-knowing for a while.

So, how do dolphins sleep? They don’t really. Dolphins only ever shut down half of their brain. (Maybe that’s why dolphins are considered so smart.) To avoid drowning during sleep, marine mammals have to retain control over their blowhole so they must always be in a semi-conscious state. They can “sleep” for a few hours at a time but the sleep is not a deep dream state like humans would have. Researchers also believe dolphins sleep with one eye open to be on the lookout for predators.

Who knew how much smarter our kids would make us?

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