Summer may be winding down, but Pinky the pink dolphin appears to still be living her best life, splashing and sexing up her way through Calcasieu Lake in Louisiana.
First spotted in 2007, Louisiana news station WGNO is reporting that Pinky is still at it (read it as having a LOT of sex). Per WGNO:
“Last summer, Rue [Captain Erik Rue of Calcasieu Charter Service] told us that “Pinky” had been seen mating quite a lot, so they wondered if she’d become pregnant because of her active “dating” life. “Pinky” certainly is popular with the male dolphins!”
Whether Pinky is actually happy is difficult to determine and “active dating life” could be a cute term for “relentlessly pursued by male dolphins.” Dolphin courtship is notoriously aggressive; female dolphins often have to form alliances to keep aggressive male dolphins away. Female bottlenose dolphins, like Pinky, only give birth to a calf once every four to five years — meaning that a fertile female becomes extremely popular in a pod.
“Because bottlenose dolphins give birth so rarely,” the New York Times reports in 1992 article on dolphin mating, “males may attempt to keep a female around even when she is not ovulating, with the hope that she will require their services when the prized moment of estrus arrives.”
Ideally Pinky is her pod’s best player — and not the one getting played. When Pinky eventually does have a calf (while she is known to have mated, it doesn’t seem she’s actually become pregnant) the question remains whether it will also resemble a Lisa Frank wet dream. There’s some debate to why Pinky is the bubblegum shade she is — only 14 pink bottlenose dolphins have been seen since 1962, making them a bit of a mystery.
Some experts think her coloring is a result of a genetic condition that prevented the typical grey coloring to develop and left Pinky with only the natural color of her blubber. But the most prevalent opinion is that she is albino. Biologist Regina Asmutis-Silvia told The Guardian that, “While this animal looks pink, it is an albino which you can notice in the eyes.”
Albinism is a genetic trait that typically keeps cells from making any or very little of the pigment melanin. For Pinky to be an albino dolphin produced from two grey dolphins, this means that they each carried a mutation of the same gene. If Pinky eventually has a calf with a grey dolphin, and he also happens to have the same mutated gene, then her calf has a 50 percent chance of being pink. Which means we all have a 50 percent chance of enjoying pink dolphin news for another 40 years.
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