As Carolyn Sotka explained during the annual conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), meeting in San Diego, California, West February 18-22, “Dolphins and humans are both mammals and their diets largely include the same seafood that we eat. Unlike us, however, they are exposed to potential threats to the health of the ocean 24 hours a day. “The similarities between dolphins and humans, he adds, they makethese animals can be considered “ecological and physiological sentinels”to “warn us of health risks” and clarify “how we can benefit our health,” explained the scientist.
For example, one of the works aimed at studying the physiology of these mammals shows evidence that theBottlenose dolphins could become the first natural animal model of type 2 diabetes. Analyzes have revealed that a fasting mechanism in dolphins can trigger a series of changes in serological chemistry that correspond to those seen in humans with diabetes. “The big brains we share that havehigh glucose demandscould explain why two species as different as humans and dolphins have developed similar physiological mechanisms to manage sugar, “explains Stephanie Venn-Watson, director of clinical research at NMMF.
On the other hand, a study from the University of Florida has discovered at least 50 new viruses in dolphins, most of them present in other species of marine mammals. One such virus is thehuman papilloma, which means that these animals are the first natural model of the virus outside the human species. And since the virus does not cause cervical cancer in cetaceans, as many women do, future analysis of the genome of this virus in dolphins could help to understand and prevent the development of tumors.