Odontoceti Dolphins and Toothed Whales

Fasting and use of stored reserves is not a major component of the lactation strategy of dolphins or most other toothed whales (suborder Odontoceti). Odontocete calves typically grow slowly during a relatively long lactation period. Depending on species, the calves take first solids at 2 12 months, and nurse for 8 34 months,[4] although longer lactations may occur in bottlenose dolphins and sperm whales. Estimated daily milk energy outputs (ca. 0.1 0.2 MJ/kg0 75/d) are very low (Table 1), similar to those seen in primates. A long period of dependence during which the young grow slowly may be important for the acquisition of hunting and social skills in these large-brained, highly social mammals, just as it is in primates.[4]

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