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Dolphins Help Fisherman Catch Fish

Dolphins Help Fisherman Catch Fish

Dolphins continue to astound us with their behaviors and abilities. A recent study followed a group of wild bottlenose dolphins in Laguna, Brazil that have shown a unique talent – they help local fishermen with their catch. With no formal training, the dolphins swim around schools of fish to group them together, so that the fisherman have a better chance of catching them. When they have rounded up a number of fish, the dolphins make noise by slapping their heads or tails to let the fisherman know when they should throw their nets.

Some fish that escape the nets swim back towards the dolphins, which means they get to eat some too. So their behavior is not without some reward, but the reward is a byproduct of their clever behavior, not something given to them by the fisherman.

The resident bottlenose dolphin population near Laguna, Brazil has been estimated at less than 55, and about 45 percent of them interact with fisherman.

The dolphins cooperative behavior was documented in a  study published recently in the Royal Society Biology Letters. How they learned to engage in the behavior benefiting the fisherman and themselves is currently unknown, but it has been documented that dolphins are capable of complex cooperation.

One observation the researchers made from their 95 days of studying the dolphins, was that the more social dolphins within their own community were the ones interacting with the fisherman. Social learning or learning through social interaction (to put it simply), could be what is allowing the particular group of cooperative dolphins to be so comfortable interacting with people in complex ways. In other words, the extra social learning they experienced amongst themselves had some effect on their mental functioning which they were able to transfer to interacting with humans.

The researchers also said it is likely the dolphins are passing on their knowledge of how to cooperate with the fisherman from generation to generation. (It is already known the fisherman pass on knowledge of cooperating with the helpful dolphins this way.)

Image Credit: NASA, Public Domain

Related Links
Dolphins Rescued by Sun Bathers
Dolphin Pulled to Safety by Family

Read more: Nature, News & Issues, Wildlife,

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44 comments

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2:07AM PST on Mar 7, 2013

Great Read, Thanks So Much!

3:47AM PST on Feb 25, 2013

Thanks

2:45PM PST on Feb 24, 2013

This is outstanding, I was looking this info yesterday night on tv. It´s amazing, we should live together, interacting with nature in this amazing ways. Blessings. Thanks for posting.

12:38PM PST on Feb 24, 2013

Delfiny pomagają ludziom, ale czy ludzie pomagają delfinom?

9:21AM PST on Feb 24, 2013

Sensational!

12:53AM PDT on Aug 28, 2012

That's teamwork, I hope they are appreciated.

4:01AM PDT on Aug 26, 2012

Amazing!!!

7:34AM PDT on Aug 25, 2012

fascinating

5:02PM PDT on Jun 14, 2012

THANKS

5:02PM PDT on Jun 14, 2012

THANKS

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