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Abstract

This paper describes the anatomy of the larynx of an echolocating porpoise and proposes a limited role for that organ in vocalization. Gross dissection of the larynx of the bottle-nose porpoise Tursiops truncatus reveals the features of component cartilages, muscles and joints. Arytenoid, cuneiform, and corniculate cartilages are present as an incompletely fused cartilaginous unit with each cartilage being identifiable by slight clefts of demarcation. The arytenoid cartilages are freely movable on the cricoid cartilage as a prerequisite for opening and closure of the larynx. Despite the lack of vocal folds to produce a wide range of sounds, it is proposed that the larynx of this species can produce clicks and is partially responsible for whistles.