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Dolphins form friendships through shared-interests and, just as with humans, scientists find

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There are just like us?

No, not really, of course, but they do seem to be in order to build up new friendships in a way that is similar to that of a human being.

The researchers, who analysed a sub-set of behavioral, genetic, and photographic data of a male dolphin that has been collected during the winter season in Western Australia’s Shark Bay, which is the only place where dolphins can be seen with the use of marine sponges as foraging tools.

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The male ‘spongers,’ as they are known to have a tendency to spend more time on it to link up with the other male spongers and non-spongers, the researchers explain, and such debt securities are to be based on similar foraging techniques, and not on affinity or other factors.

“It’s food with a sponge, it is a time-consuming, and largely a solitary pursuit, so it’s been a long time thought to be incompatible with the needs of the male dolphins in Shark Bay to be in time and in space, in the form of alliances with other males,” said Simon Allen, the co-author of the study and a senior research associate at Bristol’s School of Biological Sciences, in a published statement.

An individual use a sponge in the Shark Bay area.
(Photo courtesy of Simon Allen)

Allen added: “This study suggests that, like their female counterparts, and, indeed, like human beings, male dolphins form social bonds based on shared interests.”

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Manuela Bizzozzero, the lead author of the study from the University of Zurich, switzerland, said in a statement: “the Male dolphins in Shark Bay exhibit, a fascinating social system, of a nested group of the alliance formation. This is a strong tie between the men, can last for decades, and are an essential part of every man’s mating success. We were very excited to discover the alliances of the spongers, the dolphins form close friendships with others of similar characteristics.”

The study, which was published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

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