We know that an average male bottlenose dolphin can live well into their forties. For females it’s a little longer, around sixty years, to be exact. Okay, so it’s not a small difference, it’s a big one! Why is it that female dolphins get to live longer? Is it their beauty and charm or the extra X chromosome that they have? And do we know who the oldest bottlenose dolphin is?
Is it Science?
Scientists believe that female mammals live longer due to their extra X chromosome. Who knew that an X would be a good thing? Usually, in school it means your answer is wrong. While scientists believe that it’s the X chromosome other factors could also impact the results. These things can include their environment, body mass and specific functions. A male dolphin’s job is to find a mate, get some action and move on. In the process he might compete with other potential mates and get aggressive.
Once the male dolphin is done with matting, his job is to look for another dolphin. And as we all know in the dating world, this can be exhausting. Maybe male dolphins live shorter lives because they are tired of chasing tale? The oldest male bottlenose dolphin was 54 years old when he died in 2018.
A female dolphin’s job is to find a community where she can be protected and raise her calves. They are pregnant for a year, nurse their offspring 2-3 years, and can stay with them up to six. This to me sounds like a lot of responsibility and worry but less violent. Maybe the roles the dolphins have should factor in as well as the magical X chromosome. The oldest bottlenose dolphin on the females side is Nicklo from Sarasota Bay, Florida. She was 67 years old when she was last seen in 2017.
Is anyone asking the question of “How do we know a dolphin’s age”? Scientists either tag the dolphins and use satellite to track them or use photography. Since we can’t swim or surveillance every inch of our oceans, who is to say that 67 years old is the oldest bottlenose dolphin. Who knows what lies in the sea and what adventures dolphins get to experience.