Rumor Flies

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Rumor Flies comically addresses the origins, evolution, and veracity of your favorite rumors, myths, and misconceptions. Tune in every week for more research, stories, and unsolicited commentary! Participation encouraged. 

Rumor Flies is a member of the Dark Myths collective. Check out these amazingly talented people and their awesome shows!

 

Snap Judgment #6: Dolphins like to think their &*%$ don't Stink

SNAPPLE FACT #970: DOLPHINS ARE UNABLE TO SMELL

Ecco.jpg

Verdict: True

This is a pretty short one mostly because it's true - that being said, there are some interesting extra elements to this, as is generally the case with the "Real Facts" we choose from Snapple's list. According to Whale Facts, this is true, despite the fact that dolphins do appear to have olfactory tracts during fetal development. There seem to be no olfactory nerves, however, meaning it is functionally useless. 

What I found interesting was the relationship between their sight and echolocation. For those who are not aware, dolphins use echolocation - similar to bats - under water. Many (if not most) animals that use echolocation have very poor eye sight, but this is not the case with dolphins. What isn't clear (at least in my research) is how good their eyesight actually is. 

VisualFile.jpeg

 

The above article from Whale Facts claims that dolphins have particularly acute vision, while this Business Insider piece diving into the various testing (really interesting) they did to figure out dolphins visually perceive their world claims they have pretty poor visual acuity. That being said, they are able to recognize and point out various shapes and appear to perceive the world similarly to other mammals both under and out of water. They had particular trouble, as did chimpanzees, with discerning shapes that were similar (such as a D-shape and U-shape), and were often confused during the testing.

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Image sources (in order of appearance):

http://www.letsplaysega.com/wp-content/uploads/images/gen/Ecco_the_Dolphin_II.png

https://images.vice.com/vice/images/articles/meta/2015/10/27/there-must-be-something-in-the-water-my-nightmare-of-ecco-the-dolphin-325-1445952536.jpg?crop=1xw:0.9485164512338425xh;center,center&resize=1050:*

https://visuals.zoomph.com/Visuals/VisualFile.ashx?id=4tcsp6ks2ORNErq02A5kyg_2_2&key=whitebg