Aquatic and Land Animal Diversity

Aquatic Mammals

What is the difference between porpoises and dolphins?

Marine dolphins (family Delphinidae) and porpoises (family Phocoenidae) together comprise about forty species. The chief differences between dolphins and porpoises occur in the snout and teeth: True dolphins have a beaklike snout and cone-shaped teeth, while true porpoises have a rounded snout and flat or spade-shaped teeth.

A dolphin (top) is most easily distinguished from a porpoise (bottom) by its beaklike snout versus the rounded snout of the porpoise.


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