Several studies report that dolphins, either captive or wild, can expel air from their blowhole to form ring bubbles. By means of an experimental setup consisting of an orifice coupled to a computer-controlled solenoid valve to simulate the dolphin’s blowhole and a vessel as the lungs, we examined the formation mechanism of a ring bubble under varying experimental conditions. With a better record than the most talented dolphin, we show that two aspects were demonstrated as essential to the successful generation of a ring bubble in water: the valve’s opening duration, and the pressure inside the vessel. The present findings suggest that during ring bubble production, dolphins are likely to anticipate their action by both adjusting a suitable air pressure inside their lungs and controlling their muscular flap for an adequate opening timing of their blowhole. This could provide some evidence in favour of suggested cetaceans’ self-control capacities.
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