Dolphins Heal from Seemingly Fatal Injuries in Just Weeks

By Joseph Castro | July 22, 2011 1:21 pm

spacing is important

Michael Zasloff, a researcher at the Georgetown University Medical Center, has discovered that bottlenose dolphins have “miraculous” healing powers: within several weeks they can heal from basketball-sized injuries, without any lasting disfigurements. Moreover, the injuries, presumably from clashes with sharks, don’t seem to cause the animals any apparent pain and don’t become visibly infected. Several abilities seem to be working together to promote healing; for example, Zasloff hypothesizes that bottlenose dolphins prevent bleeding to death by restricting blood flow to certain areas of their bodies, giving large gashes time to clot.

[Read more (and see pictures) at LiveScience.]

Image: Flickr/mattk1979

  • Brian Too

    I can’t make heads or tails of this article. I thought pain was a fundamental biological mechanism, produced early in the evolution of life and profoundly adaptive. And thus conserved through time and speciation.

    Isn’t the loss of nerve sensation the cause of extremity damage in leprosy? The victim cannot get feedback from their affected limbs and they eventually scar their body through their own lack of awareness.

    Finally, this result would seem to conflict with this study:

    Why would a dolphin seek to protect it’s beak if it does not experience pain? The more so if it has some type of superior healing powers?

  • Rayce

    It’s not that it doesn’t feel pain, it’s that it is able to block out the pain(by slowing blood flow to a specific area). From what I understand.

  • Beau

    If it damages it’s mouth, it may not be able to eat. Not being able to eat causes death, by itself.

    This article doesn’t say they grow back lost fins, it just says they don’t have a basketball-sized hole in their side.

    Oh and they have sex for fun, so if they enjoy having the sex, they feel pain as well.


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