Dolphin may sense the body electric

Ability may help species track prey, especially in murky waters

5:41pm, July 27, 2011

Fleeing fish beware: The Guiana dolphin has a super Spidey sense. But instead of danger, the dolphin detects faint electrical fields generated by such things as contracting muscles, a beating heart and pumping gills — telltale signs of potential prey.

The dolphin is the first true mammal with these super sensory powers, scientists report. It detects electrical fields using organs on its snout that were once considered simple remnants of long-lost whiskers. Electroreception — the ability to sense these bioelectric fields — has already been described in sharks, amphibians, fish and some egg-laying mammals.

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