Biologists have figured out a dolphin Mafia
Biologists have identified the social structure of populations of bottlenose dolphins that live in Shark Bay in the north-western part of Western Australia. The article appeared in the scientific journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B
(at the time of this writing, the publication was not available in the network), and its summary of the results in ScienceNOW.
Researchers knew that the male bottlenose dolphins in groups of three individuals (sometimes by friendly dolphins for years) to drive the females for mating. In the case when, due to a single female between the different groups is a dispute, other groups are involved, friendly first (scientists call them "dolphin Mafia"). As a result of this process in a dispute over a female often involved dozens of dolphins, which are satisfied with the brutal mass brawl.
As part of the researchers observed 12 groups of bottlenose dolphins (we are talking about large groups, who are going to triple during the fight) for 6 years. As a result, the researchers determined that bottlenose dolphins' social structure is a unique, unparalleled in other mammals. "
The main feature is the lack of clear boundaries habitat specific groups. Scientists say that, for example, monkeys tend to guard the territory and for it to enter into conflicts with their neighbors. In addition, representatives of the various "tribes" are usually hostile to each other. It is also not observed in bottlenose dolphins - they tend to make friends, including among them unknown to the dolphins.
Scientists themselves say that their social contacts bottlenose consider many factors, in particular, social relations between friends, now and in the past. Researchers have dubbed it "the tactics of soap operas" because the bottlenose dolphin watching those who broke up, fell out and became friends.
In September 2011 the bottlenose dolphin, which studied the authors have identified as a separate species, named Tursiops australis. This is the third type of bottlenose dolphin after a large Indian and Tursiops truncatus bottlenose dolphin Tursiops aduncus, known at the moment (as it is the fourth new species of dolphins, open from the end of the XIX-th century). Until recently, T. australis, which lives off the coast of Australia, attributed to the large dolphin.