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Why Are Scientists Breathalyzing Dolphins?

Scientists have started breathalyzing dolphins — and just as you hoped, the breathalyzer is used with the blowhole, not the mouth.

High emotional intelligence, complex social groups and genitals like the world’s most elaborate Slip 'N Slide, it’s no wonder dolphins throw the best ragers in the Atlantic.



We’re kidding — only kind of. Dolphins may not be getting turnt in the ocean, but they’re being treated like it. Scientists have started breathalyzing dolphins, Gizmodo reports.


And just as you hoped, the breathalyzer is used with the blowhole, not the mouth.


Unlike human breathalyzers, however, the dolphins’ device isn’t meant to detect trace amounts of alcohol in blood. It seems like researchers couldn't care less if dolphins were taking shots without abandon in the open ocean — there is, after all, no legal drinking age in the cetacean community.

Scientists are actually breathalyzing dolphins in order to test for chemicals in the dolphins’ breath that could be leftover from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which devastated much of the Gulf of Mexico. The breathalyzers can detect oil-related toxins, as well as assess the dolphins’ respiratory health.



Their findings so far have been unsurprising. The oil spill has affected dolphin health, unsurprisingly, for the worse.

The researchers, who published their findings in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, compared dolphin breath in the Gulf of Mexico to the breath of wild dolphins from the oil-free Sarasota Bay. Needless to say, the Sarasota dolphins seemed a lot healthier.

So while dolphins may not need to worry about DUIs, oil spills remain a huge threat to wild populations — even after they’re cleaned up.


And if any marine animal ever needed to be disciplined for throwing reckless drunken fiascos where guests walk out the door wobbling and about to fall down, it's clearly penguins.




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