Some dolphins are born socialites
Thursday, August 12, 2004
LONDON — Some people are born to be the life and soul of the party — and so, it seems, are some dolphins.
It is well established that dolphins, who are highly intelligent animals, form complex social groups or pods.
But new research summarized in /New Scientist/ magazine Wednesday said that some individual dolphins played the part of liaison between different pods, keeping them in close touch with each other.
Ecologist David Lusseau of the University of Aberdeen and physicist Mark Newman of the University of Michigan found the socialite role while studying dolphins in New Zealand.
When two of the animals disappeared for a while, pods that had previously socialized ceased doing so. When they reappeared, the groups got back together again.
The scientists said their findings could have implications for zoologists taking animals from the wild. Removing a key individual could damage an entire group, they concluded.