Tuesday, October 4, 2022
Home SCIENCE Bottlenose dolphins form alliances similar to those of humans

Bottlenose dolphins form alliances similar to those of humans

Bottlenose dolphins form multilevel alliances to find mates, the largest known network outside of humans, according to a study. new studio. Bottlenose dolphins are social creatures, usually traveling in a pod 12 or more, although from time to time they act alone.

Researchers from the University of Bristol, the University of Zurich and the University of Massachusetts surveyed 121 adult male dolphins in Shark Bay, Western Australia. They found that male bottlenose dolphins form a three-tier hierarchical alliance to form short-term mating relationships with females. The first level is usually a pod of two or three dolphins chasing individual female dolphins.

The second level consists of four to 14 unrelated dolphins. They would work together against other second level male alliances to gain access to women. The third level involved multiple alliances working together against other alliances.

“Cooperation between allies is widespread in human societies and is one of the hallmarks of our success,” says lead author Stephanie King in a Press release. “Our ability to build strategic and cooperative relationships at multiple social levels, such as trade or military alliances both domestically and internationally, was once thought to be unique to our species.”

King went on to explain that “not only have we shown that male bottlenose dolphins form the largest known multilevel alliance network outside of humans, but that cooperative relationships between groups, rather than simply alliance size, allow the males spend more time with the females. thus increasing their reproductive success.

The researchers found that the amount of time male dolphins spend with females depends on how well connected they are with third-tier alliances.

Group cooperation in humans was once thought to be one of the unique features separating humans from common ancestors like the chimpanzee, along with male parenthood and the evolution of pair bonding.

“However, our results show that intergroup alliances can emerge without these features, from a social and mating system more like that of chimpanzees,” says co-author Richard Connor in a press release.

“Our work highlights that dolphin societies, as well as those of nonhuman primates, are valuable model systems for understanding human social and cognitive evolution,” King concludes in a press release.


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