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Platanista Gangetica, the river dolphin

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Chapter Summary

River dolphins, also known as blind or side-swimming dolphins, are large aquatic mammals with a length of about 1.5 to 2.5 m. River dolphins live not only in the Ganges and the Indus, but also in their larger tributaries up to the Himalayan foothills, in the Brahmaputra, the Meghna and even up to the Rapti river in Nepal. River dolphins must have been spotted regularly, especially so in the past, but because they are fully aquatic animals they are difficult to observe as a whole unless caught. A number of makaras appear to exhibit features of river dolphins, or derivations thereof. The more realistic, or even idealistic, depictions of dolphins from cultures around the Mediterranean Sea are extremely restricted in time and region, such as the dolphin frescoes of Crete and Santorini from the Minoan period.

Keywords: makaras; Minoan period; river dolphins



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