Results from a six-and-a-half year long study were released this week detailing the social relationships dolphins have with each other leaving researchers to draw comparisons with humans.
Scientists have found that dolphins develop complex social networks that determine how they mingle and with whom they spend their time.
It’s like a dolphin high school cafeteria. Who’s at the cool kids table and who’s not?
The researchers focused on the dolphin population living in the Indian River Lagoon along Florida’s central Atlantic coast. Over the course of the study, scientists observed the behavioral patterns of 200 dolphins.
“One of the more unique aspects of our study was the discovery that the physical dimensions of the habitat, the long, narrow lagoon system itself, influenced the spatial and temporal dynamics of dolphin association patterns,” said researcher Elizabeth Murdoch Titcomb in a news release. “For example, communities that occupy the narrowest stretches of the Indian River Lagoon have the most compact social networks, similar to humans who live in small towns and have fewer people with whom to interact.”
The study revealed how dolphins set up their social groups, who they interact with, who they stay away from and where and when they do so. This insight gives scientists an understanding of how dolphin populations use their environment.
The study, unfortunately, did not include dolphins establishing a social pecking order via a cut-throat game of dodgeball.
Check out the full report from ScienceWorldReport.com.