Ecological, physiological similarities provide basis for insights, expert says,,
FRIDAY, Feb. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Scientists report that dolphins suffer from diseases similar to those found in humans, and the mammals' experiences could shed light on the effects that contaminated water and seafood have on people.
"Dolphins and humans are both mammals, and their diet includes much of the same seafood that we consume," Carolyn Sotka of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Human Health Initiative said in an agency news release. "Unlike us, however, they are exposed to potential ocean health threats such as toxic algae or poor water quality 24 hours a day."
"Our ecological and physiological similarities make dolphins an important 'sentinel species' to not only warn us of health risks but also provide insight into how our health can benefit from new medical discoveries," Sotka said. She was scheduled to lead a session on dolphin health Thursday in San Diego at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Other recent findings about dolphin health to be discussed at the session include:
Hawaii Pacific University has more about bottlenose dolphins.
-- Randy Dotinga
SOURCE: U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, news release, Feb. 18, 2010
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