Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Unlike other mammals, newborn dolphins and orcas stay active 24/7 during first months of development


If you thought the sleep-deprived months with your newborn were tough, pity the poor mother dolphin or killer whale.

Reporting in the June 30 edition of the peer-reviewed journal Nature, UCLA/Veterans Affairs neuroscientists report a developmental pattern in bottlenose dolphins and killer whales that is unique from other mammals, with calves of both species active 24 hours a day during their first month.

The mother also has minimal sleep during this period, but unlike all other mammals always manages more sleep than her busy newborns. The newborns and mothers gradually increase sleep over a period of months until they reach normal adult levels. As the newborns grow, neither mothers nor offspring show counterbalancing increases in rest that would indicate accumulated sleepiness.

All mammals previously studied have maximum rest or sleep behavior at birth with amounts gradually decreasing to adult levels. In fact, past findings that sleep deprivation for two to three weeks can be lethal in rats and flies has led to the belief that sleep is critical for the development of brain and body and serves a vital function in adults.

The ability to remain active and responsive after birth has several apparent advantages for newborn cetaceans: Movement and wakefulness reduce danger from predators, help maintain body temperature until mass and blubber insulation develop, allow frequent respiration at the surface, and facilitate rapid growth of brain and body and related behavioral development.

"Somehow these seafaring mammals have found a way to cope with sleep deprivation, facilitating rather than hindering a crucial phase of development for their offspring," said Dr. Jerome Siegel, professor-in-residence at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA and chief of neurobiology research at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Sepulveda. "Their bodies have found a way to cope, offering evidence that sleep isn’t necessary for development and raising the question of whether humans and other mammals have untapped physiological potential for coping without sleep."

Researchers observed two adult female killer whales and their calves at Shamu Stadium at SeaWorld San Diego and four dolphins and their calves housed at the Gelendgick Dolphinarium and the Utrish Marine Mammal Research Station in the Black Sea region of Russia.

Dan Page | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht ‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans
24.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für marine Mikrobiologie

nachricht Calcium Induces Chronic Lung Infections
24.10.2016 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Oasis of life in the ice-covered central Arctic

24.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

24.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>