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:6/20/2016)... Securus Technologies, a leading provider of ... safety, investigation, corrections and monitoring announced that after ... secured the final acceptance by all three (3) ... Systems (MAS) installed. Furthermore, Securus will have contracts ... by October, 2016. MAS distinguishes between legitimate wireless ...
(Date:6/7/2016)... 7, 2016  Syngrafii Inc. and San Antonio ... that includes integrating Syngrafii,s patented LongPen™ eSignature "Wet" ... collaboration will result in greater convenience for SACU ... while maintaining existing document workflow and compliance requirements. ... Highlights: ...
(Date:6/1/2016)... -- Favorable Government Initiatives Coupled With Implementation ... to Boost Global Biometrics System Market Through 2021  ... " Global Biometrics Market By Type, By End ... - 2021", the global biometrics market is projected to ... growing security concerns across various end use sectors such ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)...  Sequenom, Inc. (NASDAQ: SQNM ), a ... the development of innovative products and services, announced today ... States denied its petition to review decisions ... U.S. Patent No. 6,258,540 (",540 Patent") are not patent ... Supreme Court,s Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories decision.  ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... to bring innovative medical technologies, services and solutions to the healthcare market. The ... implementation of various distribution, manufacturing, sales and marketing strategies that are necessary to ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... --  Ginkgo Bioworks , a leading organism design ... awarded as one of the World Economic Forum,s ... innovative companies. Ginkgo Bioworks is engineering biology to ... in the nutrition, health and consumer goods sectors. ... including Fortune 500 companies to design microbes for ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... While the majority of commercial spectrophotometers and fluorometers use ... 6000i models are higher end machines that use the more unconventional z-dimension of 20mm. ... from the bottom of the cuvette holder. , FireflySci has developed several Agilent ...
Breaking Biology Technology: