Saturday, July 13, 2024

New Study Shows Cooperative Dolphins Are More Reproductively Successful


A new study has shown that male bottlenose dolphins who indulge in social play as juveniles will enjoy more reproductive success as adults.

The latest research is the work of a team from the University of Bristol and the University of Western Australia.

In the study, the team shows that juvenile male dolphins who spend time playing together and practicing social bonding are much more successful as adults in terms of reproduction and will father more offspring.

According to the lead author, Dr. Katy Holmes:

“We found that juvenile play involves immature versions of adult reproductive behaviors that are crucial for males to access and mate with estrous females, and the time spent doing these play behaviors predicts how many offspring males eventually sire as adults… Our work is exciting because historically it has been notoriously difficult to link play behavior to reproductive success, in this case the number of sired offspring, in wild animals.”

While Dr. Stephanie King, associate professor at Bristol’s School of Biological Sciences and senior author, stated:

“Play behavior is widespread in humans and other animals, but the reasons that animals play together have long remained a mystery. This study provides compelling support for the idea that animals in the wild play together to practice behaviors that will be important for them as adults, and that if they practice enough, they will be more successful as adults.”

For more info, read the study here or check out the video below. 

Sam Helmy
Sam Helmy
Sam Helmy is a TDI/SDI Instructor Trainer, and PADI Staff and Trimix Instructor. Diving for 28 years, a dive pro for 14, I have traveled extensively chasing my passion for diving. I am passionate about everything diving, with a keen interest in exploration, Sharks and big stuff, Photography and Decompression theory. Diving is definitely the one and only passion that has stayed with me my whole life! Sam is a Staff Writer for