Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Dolphins, Tools, and Social Learning of Behaviors

A couple of posts back, I linked to this article describing how chimps use tools. Well, apparently this behavior is not limited to chimps and people. In Tuesday's PNAS issue, there will be an article by Michael Kruetzen et al. describing how dolphins off of the Australian coast are using sponges as tools.

From the Associated Press via CNN.com:

"This study provides convincing evidence that the behavior is transmitted via social learning," commented Laela Sayigh of the University of North Carolina Center for Marine Science.

Interesting, very interesting--This reminds me of a recent post on Pharyngula discussing a theory by David Buss on why some men kill their unfaithful wives.

Genetics versus social learning (or maybe it's synergistic--it's not always a "versus" issue)...Move over onions, we've got more layers, and they are all so very complicated.


At 2:43 PM, Blogger Jessica said...

I am amazed to the degree that one could delve into such possibilities here....I get excited when I think of the discussions it could elicit.

I love the interesting topics you continue to shed light on.

At 9:04 PM, Blogger Murky Thoughts said...

I think the papers totally missed the story on the dolphins-who-wear-sponges-on-their-noses finding. We knew already that animals have culture, but we didn't know animals have nerds. Did you see photos of the dolphins? Genus Dorkphinus, if you ask me.

At 2:02 PM, Blogger she falters to rise said...

Interesting that you are stereotyping what a nerd may look like in the dolphin world...I must check it out and see if the dolphin meets the criteria for aquatic mammalian nerds.


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