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Dolphins, like us, make friends through common interests



  Dolphins close as we do through common interests friendships
Bottlenose dolphin with a sponge in Shark Bay. Picture credits: Simon Allen

When it comes to finding friends, dolphins seem to be like us and make close friendships with other dolphins who share a common interest. The findings, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B by an international team of researchers from the Universities of Bristol, Zurich and Western Australia, provide further insights into the social habits of these remarkable animals.

Shark Bay, a World Heritage Site in Western Australia, is home to an iconic population of Indo-Pacific porpoises and is the only place where dolphins were observed using marine sponges as feeders. This learned technique, passed down from generation to generation, helps certain dolphins, "sponges", find food in deeper water channels. While the technique of tool use has been well-researched on female dolphins, this study has focused specifically on male dolphins.

Use of behavioral, genetic and photographic data collected by 1

24 male dolphins over nine years during the winter months in Shark Bay [2007 to 2015] The team analyzed a subset of 37 male dolphins, including 13 sponges and 24 non-sponges.

Male sponges spend more time associating with other male sponges than non-sponges related or other factors.

Dr. Simon Allen, co-author of the study and senior research associate at the Bristol School of Biological Sciences, explains: "Foraging for a sponge is a time-consuming and mostly lonely activity that has long been considered incompatible with the needs of male dolphins Investing in Close Alliances with Other Men This study suggests that male dolphins, like their female counterparts, and indeed also human beings, forge social bonds based on shared interests. "

  •   Dolphins make friends like us through shared interests Study results
    Bottlenose dolphin with a sponge in Shark Bay. Picture credits: Simon Allen
  •   dolphins close as we do through common interests friendships
    Bottlenose dolphin with a sponge in Shark Bay. Picture credits: Stephanie King

The study provides new insights into homophilic behavior in the tool-using dolphin social network.

Manuela Bizzozzero, principal author of the study at the University of Zurich, added: "Male dolphins in Shark Bay have intriguing social behavior on the system of nested alliance formation.These strong ties between men can last for decades and are crucial to each mating success Man, we were very excited to discover alliances of sponges and dolphins that make close friendships with others with similar traits. "


Dolphin eating habits differentiate the genetic line


More information:
Tool Use and Social Homophily in Bottlenose Dolphins, Royal Society B rspb.royalsocietypublishing.or … .1098 / rspb.2019.0898

Provided by
University of Bristol




Quote :
Dolphins close like we do through common interests friendships, study results (2019, June 11)
retrieved on June 12, 2019
from https://phys.org/news/2019-06-dolphins-friendships.html

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