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Study: Dolphins remain alert by using only half their brain to sleep


Dolphins use echolocation to identify nearby objects in the ocean
Dolphins use echolocation to identify nearby objects in the ocean

Staff writers

October 19, 2012 — Dolphins have adapted to ocean predators by sleeping with only half their brains, allowing them to stay alert for 15 day stretches.

The study found that dolphins were able to use echolocation with near-perfect accuracy for more than 15 day stretches
The study found that dolphins were able to use echolocation with near-perfect accuracy for more than 15 day stretches

Dolphins have developed a unique ability to sleep using only half their brains, allowing them to fend off predators for at least 15 consecutive days, a new study has found.

A team of researchers led by the National Marine Mammal Foundation discovered that dolphins use echolocation - a process that involves using echoes to locate and identify objects - with near-perfect accuracy for days on end.

The study suggests that the adaptation serves a dual purpose. In addition to helping fend off sharks, a prolonged state of vigilance also prevents the dolphins from drowning.

The findings have been published online in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS One.

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