Dolphins Have Another Secret Power: Electrolocation

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A species of dolphin can sense electrical fields with special sensory organs in its snout, marine biologists writing in the journal Royal Society Proceedings B, confirmed today. While we've known sharks, rays, and other fish had similar capabilities, among mammals, only the platypus had been shown to sense electrical fields. The discovery was made in the Guiana dolphin, which is native to South America.

What can't dolphins do? They heal jaw-droppingly quickly. They can swim up to 22 miles per hour, dive past 2,000 feet, and hold their breath for 12 minutes. Not to mention echolocation or their still-unknown linguistic facility or their brand strength among the valuable tween girl demographic!

Why hasn't there been a superhero comic book or cartoon based on a pod of dolphins?

Via Philip Bump.

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Technology Channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer calls Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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