Study In Bermuda Cited In Dolphin Research

June 1, 2022

A study on dolphins, including several at Dolphin Quest Bermuda in Dockyard, has shown that the marine mammals can identify their friends by taste.

Research has shown that bottlenose dolphins use their sense of taste to discern their friends’ urine from unrelated dolphins, according to an article in National Geographic.

The article reads: “Study leader Jason Bruck, a marine biologist at Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas, didn’t set out to test whether bottlenose dolphins could identify each other through their urine.

“His original goal was to test whether dolphins use their signature whistles in the same way people rely on names. But to do that, he needed a second way for dolphins to identify each other.

“To find out if dolphins could associate a whistle with a specific dolphin, Bruck turned to an unlikely substance: urine.

“A scientist had previously observed wild dolphins purposefully swimming through plumes of urine, leading Bruck to suspect they were gathering information from it.

“In experiments using captive dolphins, the team discovered that dolphins paid more attention to their friends’ urine and whistles, suggesting they knew the animals that issued them, he says.

“The findings are the first robust evidence of an animal identifying other members of its species using taste. They also show that by using at least two cues to identify individuals, dolphins have a complex understanding of their family and friends—much as humans do.

Mr Brock, who observed several bottlenose dolphins at dolphin-interaction centres in Bermuda and Hawaii, said: “The dolphins were very, very keen to participate. Usually, dolphins get bored with my experiments. We were tapping into something that is part of the dolphins’ world.”

He added: “I was shocked, just shocked. I had a big grin on my face, like, Oh my God, this worked.”

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Category: All, Environment