Science News

What Do Dolphins And a Football Team Have in Common?

Sun, 16th Jan 2005

Part of the show Cybernetics and Computer Vision

A team of US scientists has discovered that dolphins have specific positions within their pod, and thus act just like a football team! The Miami researchers studied feeding individuals in two different pods, which they were able to recognise by the different markings on their fins. They found that certain dolphins always performed certain jobs when the pod was hunting for fish. One particular dolphin was always the driver. It would herd fish towards a wall of waiting team mates, and then drive the fish up towards the surface to be eaten. Such specialisation within groups is unusual for the animal kingdom, and is only otherwise seen in lioness groups in Africa. In this case, a group of lionesses herds the prey towards the centre of the hunting ground where another lioness is waiting to go in for the kill. As it is often difficult to identify individuals, it is possible that there are many other species that work as a team, but they are yet to be discovered.

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