Tactile Sensitivity, Somatosensory Responses, Skin Vibrations, and the Skin Surface Ridges of the Bottle-Nose Dolphin, Tursiops Truncatus

  • Sam H. Ridgway
  • Donald A. Carder
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSA, volume 196)


Kramer (1960, 1977) was the first to suggest that dolphins have a compliant skin that enhances their hydrody-namic performance by damping incipient turbulence. Kramer also was the first to develop a synthetic vessel coating based upon dolphin skin. However, his coating contained no mechanism for active vibration or for other adjustments to changing boundary layer conditions. Lang (1966) reviewed the earlier work on dolphin hydrodynamics and evaluated the various theories. Concerning the idea that dolphins might actively change their skin surface to reduce hydrodynamic drag, he stated: “An alternate explanation for low drag with regard to cetaceans is that they actively adjust the flexibility and movement of their skin to damp out the microscopic disturbances in the laminar boundary layer. Betchov showed that the laminar flow might be extended indefinitely by this means.”


Continue Activity Bottlenose Dolphin Somatosensory Evoke Potential Tactile Sensitivity Vibratory Stimulation 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sam H. Ridgway
    • 1
  • Donald A. Carder
    • 1
  1. 1.Biosciences DivisionNaval Ocean Systems CenterSan DiegoUSA

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