Whales and dolphins have rich ‘human-like’ cultures and societiesLeave a Comment
October 16, 2017 University of Manchester read full ScienceDaily article here
Whales and dolphins (cetaceans) live in tightly-knit social groups, have complex relationships, talk to each other and even have regional dialects — much like human societies. A major new study has linked the complexity of Cetacean culture and behavior to the size of their brains.
The study demonstrates that these societal and cultural characteristics are linked with brain size and brain expansion — also known as encephalisation.
The long list of behavioural similarities includes many traits shared with humans and other primates such as:
- complex alliance relationships — working together for mutual benefit
- social transfer of hunting techniques — teaching how to hunt and using tools
- cooperative hunting
- complex vocalizations, including regional group dialects — ‘talking’ to each other
- vocal mimicry and ‘signature whistles’ unique to individuals — using ‘name’ recognition
- interspecific cooperation with humans and other species — working with different species
- alloparenting — looking after youngsters that aren’t their own
- social play…
Kieran C. R. Fox, Michael Muthukrishna, Susanne Shultz. The social and cultural roots of whale and dolphin brains. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 2017; DOI: 10.1038/s41559-017-0336-y