Just when you thought you couldn’t love dolphins, a new study of biology has revealed how human-like they really are.
A study of 17 adult male bottlenose dolphins in Shark Bay in Western Australia, discovered they are the only animals in the world to give a name to the members in their social circles, akin to the man.
“The preservation of individual names is more important than the share of calls as it allows the dolphins to negotiate a complex social network of cooperative relationships,” a scientist and Stephanie King said.
The research, which was published this week in the journal Current Biology, found that non-related men team into groups of two to three, a tactic that enhances their opportunities to breed with females.
This male duo’s and trio’s, as best friends, then build more on the second level alliances — the formation of a friendship group — their whole life.
Men make their own signature whistle for each other, that is the closest thing to a human name.
There are many dolphins in the ocean that have the same name, but allies always give different names to the people in their friendship circle.
“This individual vocal labels or names,’ leave the animals to develop complex social relationships,” King said.
Their commitment also extends to their physical touch.
The study revealed that male dolphins spend a lot of time caressing each other with their pectoral fins, like they are holding hands. Drone footage has also been shown that they can even swim with their fins lay on top of each other.
Another way in which they build their bonds is through synchronized movements.
“Synchrony has also been linked to oxytocin release in humans, which promotes trust and cooperation,” King said.
It is generally known since the 1960s that both male and female bottlenose dolphins have their signature call, but the King discovered the calls were tailored to individual dolphins when she began with the playing of the whistles back to the animals themselves.
They found that dolphins respond to recordings of their own signature whistle, but not those of other dolphins.
This story was previously published in the news.com.au.