Male Humpback Dolphins Give Gifts to Impress Females in Prelude to Mating

StoryfulWeatherPublished: November 22, 2017
Published: November 22, 2017

Researchers have discovered that male humpback dolphins use gifts in order to approach and impress females, with a view to mating. In a video posted to YouTube on November 21, Dr Simon Allen from the University of Western Australia describes monitoring the dolphins at various places throughout Western Australia during the past decade. “This large adult male appeared at the surface with what looked like a large sponge on his beak, on the forehead just resting there, and sort of pushed it toward the female. And then that was the only glimpse we got of it. “But then we started to see it in other sites, North West Cape and then across to the Dampier Archipelago and as the data set built up we started to be able to formulate this picture of what was really going on. “Never was this in a foraging context, certainly not for the males, it was always in the context of approaching an adult female that has a calf of weaning age and is therefore ready to be mated again. It could be gift-giving, which is extremely rare among non-human mammals.” Dr Allen said the study showed the dolphins were socially complex and “thinking animals”. The study can be read here. Credit: YouTube/Simon Allen – University of Western Australia via Storyful

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