Mystery of the Silver Rings

By | May 2, 2006

Mystery of the Silver Rings

The young dolphin gives a quick flip of her head, and an undulating silver ring appears–as if by magic–in front of her. The ring is a solid, toroidal bubble two feet across–and yet it does not rise to the surface! It stands erect in the water like the rim of a magic mirror, or the doorway to an unseen dimension. For long seconds the dolphin regards its creation, from varying aspects and angles, with its vision and sonar. Seemingly making a judgement, the dolphin then quickly pulls a small silver donut from the larger structure, which collapses into small bubbles. She then “pushes” the donut, which stays just inches ahead of her rostrum, perhaps 20 feet over a period of up to 10 seconds. Then, stopping again, she regards the twisting ring for a last time and bites it–causing it to collapse into a thousand tiny bubbles which head–as they should–for the water’s surface. After a few moments of reflection, she creates another.

This isn’t fantasy, it’s real. And it isn’t magic, just marvelous. It is a rare dolphin behavior, and we first saw it in the play of two baby dolphins. It gives us a little more insight into the superb level of control dolphins can exercise on their water environment, and underscores the fact that we can still discover things about dolphins by simply watching them. ” – MORE

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