Cooperative male dolphins coordinate in response to threats

Sydney, Australia, Apr 1 (efe-epa).- Male dolphins coordinate their vocal behavior as well as their physical behavior to form alliances and cooperate with each other when facing a potential threat, which is similar to human group behavior, according to a study published Wednesday.

The study was released by researchers from the University of Western Australia (UWA) and the University of Bristol and published in the “Proceedings of the Royal Society B” after the collection and analysis of longterm acoustic data from a population of bottlenose dolphins in Shark Bay, Western Australia.

Allied male dolphins “matched the tempo of their partner’s calls when working together, and sometimes even produce their calls in sync,” a UWA statement said, while lead author Bronte Moore added that male bottlenose dolphins were known for synchronizing their physical behavior and could form alliances that lasted for decades.

“In humans, synchronized actions can lead to increased feelings of bonding, foster cooperation and diminish the perceived threat of rivals. It was previously thought that only humans coordinated both verbal signals and physical movement when working together,” the statement said.

“The study showed that male bottlenose dolphins not only synchronize their movements, but also coordinate their vocal behavior when cooperating together in alliances. This behavior may help reduce tension between the males in a situation that requires them to cooperate successfully,” Moore said.

Male bottlenose dolphins also needed to work together to herd a female and defend her from rival groups, but were also competing to fertilize her.

“Such synchronized and coordinated behavior between allied males may therefore promote cooperative behavior and regulate stress, as it has been shown to do in humans,” former UWA researcher Stephanie King, who currently works at the University of Bristol’s School of Biological Sciences, said in the statement. EFE-EPA


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