Gone Fishing

Watercooler Ammo

November 27, 2012
Gone Fishing

Getty Images

If you ever visit Southern Brazil, you might see something weird in the waves: Wild bottlenose dolphins helping men catch fish. The creatures drive mullet schools towards a line of fisherman, then signal when and where the men should throw their nets by slapping their heads and tails against the water.

It’s easy to assume that the men holding the nets somehow domesticated these dolphins, but a study conducted over a period of two years has found that the creatures actually trained themselves. Why? Because the partnership goes both ways: While the majority of the fish swim right into the nets of the fishermen, the stragglers become easy pickings for the hungry dolphins, who have learned to wait for that reward.

Brazilian fishermen learn the trade from their elders, and scientists suspect that these dolphins might also be passing the behaviors necessary to help the fisherman from generation to generation.

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Posted on November 28, 2012, in General. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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