Social networks reveal cultural behaviour in tool - using dolphins
Stanton, Margaret A.
Patterson, Eric M.
Bienenstock, Elisa J.
Animal tool use is of inherent interest given its relationship to intelligence, innovation and cultural behaviour. Here we investigate whether Shark Bay bottlenose dolphins that use marine sponges as hunting tools (spongers) are culturally distinct from other dolphins in the population based on the criteria that sponging is both socially learned and distinguishes between groups. We use social network analysis to determine social preferences among 36 spongers and 69 non-spongers sampled over a 22-year period while controlling for location, sex and matrilineal relatedness. Homophily (the tendency to associate with similar others) based on tool-using status was evident in every analysis, although maternal kinship, sex and location also contributed to social preference. Female spongers were more cliquish and preferentially associated with other spongers over non-spongers. Like humans who preferentially associate with others who share their subculture, tool-using dolphins prefer others like themselves, strongly suggesting that sponge tool-use is a cultural behaviour.
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Social Networks and Fitness Consequences of Early Sociality in Wild Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops sp.) Stanton, Margaret Anne (Georgetown University, 2011)Despite recent investigations into the relationship between adult social bonds and fitness in socially complex species, remarkably little attention has focused on the consequences of early sociality. For this dissertation ...
Sharara, Hossam; Getoor, Lise; Singh, Lisa; Mann, Janet (Academy of Science and Engineering, 2012)Most networks contain embedded communities or groups that impact the overall gathering and dissemination of ideas and information. These groups consist of important or prominent individuals who actively participate in ...
Ecological and Life History Factors Influence Habitat and Tool Use in Wild Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops sp.) Patterson, Eric Michael (Georgetown University, 2012)While it has long been known that individual animals behave quite distinctively from other conspecifics, only recently has this intraspecific behavioral variation itself been the subject of investigation rather than a ...