Nature and climate News | Scientific ecology

Dolphins are able to master social literacy: they adopt the skills of their relatives

Dolphins are able to master social literacy

Dolphins watch their relatives for social learning purposes. The scientists who study the behavior of dolphins have come to the conclusion that this mammals have an excellent intellectual development. The baby dolphin receives its first skills in life from the mother. And then it watches the other dolphins, adopting their habits and ability to find a way out of the situation. An amazing process was observed by the scientists in the Australian Shark Bay.

Here bottlenose dolphins used special equipment in order to cook their own dinner. They lifted shells from the bottom. And then they brought them to the surface and shook their contents into their mouths.


Other individuals picked up such trick with food, and soon all the dolphins tried to get their own food that way. Previously the scientists suggested that dolphins learn from each other's social activities. But the observed situation with mollusk shells confirmed the assumption. The study of the social learning of mammals is carried out by the specialists from the University of Konstanz in Germany.

According to environmentalist Sonya Wilde, almost all cetaceans are known for using smart strategies. The specialists at Leeds University in England were conducting the similar study from 2007 to 2018 and found interesting facts in the dolphins' behavior. For example, larger individuals can take food from the weak and younger.

This method quickly spread among other dolphins and the scientists called it the development of social literacy. After analyzing a total of the behavior of 310 dolphins, the scientists came to the conclusion that their social interaction is explained by the behavioral network and the degree of duplication of the environment between the dolphins.


In part, the scientists compare this behavior with the spread of the virus. Once a dolphin acquires a new skill, this feature begins to spread among others. About 57% of all dolphins are affected by this social exchange.