What's the best way to age a dolphin? Previously, veterinarians would pull a tooth and count the rings within it, just like you might try to age a tree by its rings. But a recent study by Dr. Ashley Barratclough provides an even better, simpler, and less invasive option: blood and skin! On this weeks episode of Aquadocs, host Michelle Greenfield interviews Dr. Ashley Barratclough, conservation medicine veterinarian at the National Marine Mammal Foundation about her research in epigenetics and estimating the age of bottlenose dolphins from blood or remotely sampled skin. This new method opens the door for a variety of future research projects and might even be a way to better understand less studied populations of free ranging marine mammals.
Research Article: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/353739030_Accurate_Epigenetic_Aging_in_Bottlenose_Dolphins_Tursiops_truncatus_an_Essential_Step_in_the_Conservation_of_at-Risk_Dolphins