You may have noticed that best friends tend to borrow each other’s body language and way of talking. Well, according to a new study which the journal Current Biology recently published, this is not only the case with humans. There are many species out there that can change their calls to resemble those of their closest buddies. What’s even more interesting is that when it comes to male bottlenose dolphins, which live in Australia’s Shark Bay, this concept falls. In fact, they act the exact opposite.
Entire years of research have shown that that male dolphin friends usually like to team up in groups of two to three individuals. It seems that like that, they improve their chances of finding females to mate with. The idea is that male dolphins each have their own whistle, the way people call other people by their name. And while these whistles might be the same for more males outside the group, just like many men can be called John, no male dolphin has the same sound inside the group. According to study leader Stephanie King, these different “names” allow the individuals to form some complex social bonds.
Male dolphins and their interesting social connections
Male dolphins have such strong friendships that sometimes, they may even caress each other with their pectoral fins. In fact, sometimes, they may swim with their fins on top of each other, giving the sensation that they are holding hands. It’s worth noting that experts have known about these “names” for both male and female dolphins since the 1960s. However, it wasn’t until now that they realized just how important socially-wise they are.
Back in 2013, King also showed that dolphins answer when they hear recordings of their own whistles. However, they don’t answer when they hear those of other dolphins. Think of it like a student who answers to the professor calling out their name.
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