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Humpback whale. Image: Christopher Swann

A story about whales and humans

As well as working for WDC, I write books for young people. Stories; about the...
Risso's dolphin at surface

My lucky number – 13 years studying amazing Risso’s dolphins

Everything we learn about the Risso's dolphins off the coast of Scotland amazes us and...
Dead sperm whale in The Wash, East Anglia, England. © CSIP-ZSL.

What have dead whales ever done for us?

When dead whales wash up on dry land they provide a vital food source for...
Risso's dolphin © Andy Knight

We’re getting to know Risso’s dolphins in Scotland so we can protect them

Citizen scientists in Scotland are helping us better understand Risso's dolphins by sending us their...
Pilot whales pooing © Christopher Swann

Talking crap and carcasses to protect our planet

We know we need to save the whale to save the world because they are...
Fin whale (balaenoptera physalus) Three fin whales Gulf of California.

Speaking truth to power – my week giving whales a voice

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting is where governments come together to make decisions about whaling...

Why do whales and dolphins strand on beaches?

People often ask me 'why' whales and dolphins do one thing or another.  I'm a...
A spinner dolphin leaping © Andrew Sutton/Eco2

Head in a spin – my incredible spinner dolphin encounter

Sri Lanka is home to at least 30 species of whales and dolphins, from the...

Body Language in Bottlenose Dolphins

When you are involved in watching and studying bottlenose dolphin behaviour for any length of time, you begin to notice certain body positions that occur every so often and one that fascinates me is an activity known as “S” posturing. What happens is, as you can see in my recent photo below of ID#1018 “Bodhi” (one of the cheeky sub-adult males) the dolphin breaches from the water and holds its body in a rigid “S” shape with the head raised and the pectoral fins held out stiffly from the body.  photo Bodhi S Posturing.jpg As the dolphin falls towards the water ready for re-entry, the dolphins head and chin is forcefully slapped on the water and this complete activity can be repeated many times. Theories for this type of dolphin “body language” favour a state of annoyance or irritation, directed at either another dolphin or possibly an unfamiliar inanimate object in the dolphins’ large territory, such as a boat. I love watching behaviour like this as I think that it just adds to the fascination that we have with these sensitive and highly intelligent marine mammals who have a very complicated social life and structure. This is yet another reason why no cetacean should ever be confined to a cramped and filthy tank.

Find out more facts about dolphins.

About Charlie Phillips

Field officer - Adopt a Dolphin