As is the case with most marine mammals and fish, calculating the correct life expectancy and average life span for most species and individual creatures can be extremely difficult. The life spans themselves can be long, especially for mammals such as whales, and dolphins are also known for their longer life expectancy, most particularly in the case of some larger species such as killer whales. Dolphins’ life span can decrease drastically when they are being held in captivity. In some cases, it can reduce by more than 10 years, or even more than half the normal average life span for the species in question.
The average life of a dolphin is about 25 years, however, not all species have live as long, and some can reach ages of more than 60. Typically, however, the maximum recorded age of a dolphin is somewhere between 40 and 50. Bottlenose dolphins are a typical species that live up to the age of 40, while the killer whale, also known as the orca, is able to live for up to 70 years in the wild. The life expectancy of dolphins can vary greatly based on species, diet, the region they live in and the social structure of the group that they are part of.
Although male killer whales typically only reach the age of 30 or 40, some male specimens of the species have been found to get to an age of 60. Females, on the other hand, can outlive their male partners by 10 or even 20 years, some rare specimens even reaching the age of 90, which is one of the longest life spans for any dolphin species. Depending on each species of dolphin in part, the gender of the animal can play an important role when it comes to having a longer life. Females generally have a longer life span than males, which is typical for species like striped dolphins, Chinese white dolphins and common bottlenose dolphins. All these species can live for up to 40-50 years at most, with average life spans between 14 and 30 years.
There are a number of factors and analysis variables that can help scientists track down precisely how long individual dolphins and entire communities might live. For example, dolphins living in areas where social interaction is scarce, and they are constantly threatened by predators, pollution or fishing, will typically have much shorter life spans than those coexisting with many other members of their species in an area thriving with clean water and food. An analysis of the dolphins’ teeth can offer scientists an accurate life span measurement in real time. At the same time, the health status and the amount of available food can also determine life expectency.