dolphins

Dolphins indulge in elite societies and cliques just like humans do, scientists find

Saturday, August 04, 2012 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: dolphins, elite societies, intelligence

eTrust Pro Certified

Most Viewed Articles
Popular on Facebook
The five biggest lies about Ebola being pushed by government and mass media
Why does the CDC own a patent on Ebola 'invention?'
White House admits staging fake vaccination operation to gather DNA from the public
Ultraviolet light robot kills Ebola in two minutes; why doesn't every hospital have one of these?
EXCLUSIVE: Natural News tests flu vaccine for heavy metals, finds 25,000 times higher mercury level than EPA limit for water
Truvia sweetener a powerful pesticide; scientists shocked as fruit flies die in less than a week from eating GMO-derived erythritol
Irrefutable proof we are all being sprayed with poison: 571 tons of toxic lead 'chemtrailed' into America's skies every year
Russia taking McDonald's to court, threatens countrywide shutdown
Oregon man serving prison sentence for collecting rainwater on his own property
The best way to help your body protect itself against Ebola (or any virus or bacteria)
Senator who attacked Doctor Oz over dietary supplements received over $146,000 in campaign contributions from Big Pharma mega-retailer and Monsanto
Global warming data FAKED by government to fit climate change fictions
Healthy 12-year-old girl dies shortly after receiving HPV vaccine
Ebola outbreak may already be uncontrollable; Monsanto invests in Ebola treatment drug company as pandemic spreads
HOAX confirmed: Michelle Obama 'GMOs for children' campaign a parody of modern agricultural politics
Ben & Jerry's switches to non-GMO, Fair Trade ice cream ingredients
W.H.O. contradicts CDC, admits Ebola can spread via coughing, sneezing and by touching contaminated surfaces
BREAKING: CDC whistleblower confesses to MMR vaccine research fraud in historic public statement

Delicious
(NaturalNews) One of the smartest mammals on the planet apart from human beings, dolphins have long fascinated scientists because of their incredible intellectual abilities, which include things like their amazing aptness at solving problems, planning ahead, and even experiencing emotions. And a new study published in the journal Nature Communications adds further insight into the complexity of dolphins, having found that, just like humans, dolphins tend to form elite social groups, and prefer the company of other dolphins who share the same skills as them.

For 22 years, Janet Mann and her colleagues from Georgetown University studied the behavioral habits of bottlenose dolphins living in Australia's Shark Bay to learn more about how they interact socially. The team observed in particular 36 dolphins that had learned how to use sea sponges on their noses to protect them from injury while foraging, as well as 69 other dolphins living in the same area that had not learned the technique.

At the onset of the study, the research team observed that the unique sponging technique had originally been discovered by a single dolphin, later named "Sponging Eve," who researchers observed to have scraped her nose on some rough sand while searching for food. Sponging Eve figured out a way to break off part of a sea sponge, they discovered, which she then attached to her nose to protect it.

Based on previous knowledge and study of animal behavior, the team assumed that this valuable hunting tool would eventually spread throughout the entire dolphin community living in Shark Bay, and even beyond. Most animals, after all, tend not to belong to any specific culture or subculture among their own species, per se, which means their skills and survival techniques are indiscriminately passed down to others living in the same area.

Dolphins appear to be just as cliquish as humans

But as the years passed on in the study, only a few of the dolphins picked up the sponging skill, while the rest appeared to have been excluded from this useful knowledge. And upon investigation, the researchers noted that Sponging Eve had essentially reserved her knowledge of the technique for her close friends and offspring, while the rest of the dolphins outside her social group remained unaware of it.

"Spongers were more cliquish, had more sponger associates and stronger bonds with each other than with non-spongers," said the authors about the dolphins who learned the sponging technique compared to the others. "Like humans who preferentially associate with others who share their subculture, tool-using dolphins prefer others like themselves, strongly suggesting that sponge tool-use is a cultural behavior."

Prior to uncovering this fascinating subculture among dolphins, most animal researchers assumed that all animals, including dolphins, passed on traits for practical reasons, without any regard for social situations outside, perhaps, their own family unit. But it appears as though dolphins are once again a cut above most other animals in terms of mental proficiency, as the traits of "inclusive inheritability" and culture can no longer be attributed exclusively to humans.

"Homophily (the tendency to associate with others who are similar to one's self) based on tool-using status was evident in every analysis," added the researchers about the dolphins. "[A]lthough kinship, sex and location also contributed to social preference."

Sources for this article include:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk

http://news.yahoo.com

http://news.sciencemag.org

Join over four million monthly readers. Your privacy is protected. Unsubscribe at any time.
comments powered by Disqus
Take Action: Support NaturalNews.com by linking back to this article from your website

Permalink to this article:

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):

Reprinting this article:
Non-commercial use OK, cite NaturalNews.com with clickable link.

Follow Natural News on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest

Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...

GET SHOW DETAILS
+ a FREE GIFT

Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of NaturalNews.com, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source: Alexa.com)

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.