A Georgetown University Medical Center, ( GUMC), researcher who previously discovered antimicrobial compounds in the skin of frogs and in the dogfish shark has now turned his attention to the remarkable wound healing abilities of dolphins. Michael Zasaloff M.D., Ph.D., an adjunct professor at GUMC and former Dean of Research, interviewed dolphin handlers and marine biologists from around the world, and reviewed the limited literature available about dolphin healing to offer some new observations about what he calls the “remarkable” and “mysterious” ability of dolphins to heal
Dr. Zasloff presents the case histories of two shark-bitten dolphins, Nari and Echo, at the Tangalooma Wild Dolphin Resort in Moreton Island, Australia. The reports document the healing process of the dolphins with photos to eloquently demonstrate how and how quickly two dolphins heal from severe shark injuries.
“The Tangalooma dolphin care team is continuously astounded at the remarkable natural ability of the dolphins that visit us, in overcoming severe shark bite injuries with what seems to be indifference,” says Trevor Hassard, director of Tangalooma. “We learn so much from the lives of other animals. Perhaps Dr Zasloff’s contribution will bring the dolphin’s remarkable healing capacities to the attention of the medical research community.”
A dolphin’s ability to heal quickly from a shark bite with apparent indifference to pain, resistance to infection, hemorrhage protection, and near-restoration of normal body contour might provide insights for the care of human injuries, says Zasaloff . “Much about the dolphin’s healing process remains unreported and poorly documented,” he adds. “How does the dolphin not bleed to death after a shark bite? How is it that dolphins appear not to suffer significant pain? What prevents infection of a significant injury? And how can a deep, gaping wound heal in such a way that the animal’s body contour is restored? Comparable injuries in humans would be fatal. ”