Navigation Links
Dolphins cultivate loose alliances

This press release is available in German.

Dolphins behave uniquely. On the one hand, male dolphins form alliances with others; on the other hand, they live in an open social structure. Anthropologists from the University of Zurich detected this unusual behavior in the animal kingdom in dolphins in Shark Bay, Australia.

Male dolphins in Shark Bay, Australia, display the most complex group behavior of all mammals after us humans. Studies in the 1990s revealed that two to three male dolphins cooperate very closely with each other to isolate female dolphins from the main group for mating. Sometimes, these so-called "first-order" alliances join forces to steal females that have been monopolized by other alliances. To a degree, however, this higher-level bond among males is highly opportunistic and can change depending on the context. The formation of alliances in dolphins is only comparable with that of humans in terms of complexity.

A new study by researchers from the USA, Australia and Michael Krtzen from the University of Zurich's Anthropological Institute & Museum now proves that these male alliances are based on an open social structure. Dolphins have multifaceted relationships with other individuals within a complex network without an obvious group structure, placing them almost on a par with us humans. This begs a comparison with the social structure of chimpanzees. Chimpanzee males also form alliances, but only between social groups, which enables them to defend their territory against members of the same species from other groups. However, this is not the case with dolphins: They defend the females, not territories.

Another explanatory model would be that dolphin males only defend females or territories during the mating season and thus avoid each other as far as possible. However, this hypothesis does not apply to dolphins in Shark Bay, either, as the observation of over 120 adult dolphins in an area of around 600 square kilometers revealed. "Our study shows for the first time that the social structure and associated behavior of dolphins is unique in the animal kingdom," explains Krtzen.

Group behavior and the social structure of other species have always fascinated biologists. Are they similar to ours and, if yes, can we learn something about ourselves from them? The comparison of humans with apes, elephants and dolphins, all of which are species with large brains and highly developed cognitive skills, enable conclusions regarding the evolution of group behavior in humans to be drawn.

Contact: Michael Krtzen
University of Zurich

Related biology news :

1. Size matters: Large Marine Protected Areas work for dolphins
2. New protected areas for dolphins declared
3. Pregnancy is a drag for bottlenose dolphins
4. Bats, dolphins, and mole rats inspire advances in ultrasound technology
5. Dolphins use double sonar
6. Marine lab research tracks pollutants in dolphins and beluga whales
7. Against the tide: Currents keep dolphins apart
8. TWIPS -- sonar inspired by dolphins
9. Harbor seals whiskers as good at detecting fish as echolocating dolphins
10. Dolphins use diplomacy in their communication
11. Satellites, DNA and dolphins
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Dolphins cultivate loose alliances
(Date:11/4/2015)... , November 4, 2015 ... new market report published by Transparency Market Research "Home Security ... Trends and Forecast 2015 - 2022", the global home security ... 30.3 bn by 2022. The market is estimated to ... period from 2015 to 2022. Rising security needs among ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... ARBOR, Mich. , Oct. 29, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... Eurofins Genomics for U.S. distribution of its DNA ... DNA-seq kit and Rubicon,s new ThruPLEX Plasma-seq kit. ... to enable the preparation of NGS libraries for ... plasma for diagnostic and prognostic applications in cancer ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... 2015 Munich, Germany ... technology (ASGM) automatically maps data from mobile eye tracking ... , so that they can be quantitatively analyzed with ... Munich, Germany , October 28-29, 2015. SMI,s Automated ... mobile eye tracking videos created with SMI,s Eye ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... CITY , Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - ... "Company") announced today that the remaining 11,000 post-share ... Share Purchase Warrants (the "Series B Warrants") subject ... were exercised on November 23, 2015, which will ... Shares.  After giving effect to the issuance of ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... In harsh ... Insertion points for in-line sensors can represent a weak spot where leaking process ... series of retractable sensor housings , which are designed to tolerate extreme process ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... Technologies, Inc., on being named to Deloitte's 2015 Technology Fast 500 list of ... OrthoAccel manufactures AcceleDent®, a FDA-cleared, Class II medical device that speeds up orthodontic ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 2015 Capricor Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... discovery, development and commercialization of first-in-class therapeutics, today announced ... is scheduled to present at the 2015 Piper Jaffray ... EST, at The Lotte New York Palace Hotel in ... . --> . ...
Breaking Biology Technology: