Whale, dolphin societies like humans

Lester Mason
October 18, 2017

The researchers found "overwhelming evidence" that these creatures have sophisticated social and cooperative behavior traits, similar to many found in human culture.

Researchers found dolphins sometimes use a call associated with an individual when they're not there - suggesting they gossip about each other too.

That means the apparent co-evolution of brains, social structure, and behavioral richness of marine mammals provides a unique and striking parallel to the large brains and hyper-sociality of humans and other primates on land.

The study published in The University Of Manchester's official website gathered information by studying over 90 different species of dolphins, whales, and porpoises.

In a seemingly compassionate manner, they were also observed caring for the youngsters of the herd who weren't their own offspring, and showed an ability to work with different species, including humans.

'Unfortunately they won't ever mimic our great metropolisis and technologies because they didn't evolve opposable thumbs'.

But others have made a point of noting that there's still much to learn about this cultural-brain hypothesis and how it compares in humans and other animal species.

"As humans, our ability to socially interact and cultivate relationships has allowed us to colonize nearly every ecosystem and environment on the planet", Susanne Shultz, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Manchester in England, said in a news release. It would be like octopuses thinking that humans are inferior because we can't taste with our many arms or change our skin in seconds for camouflage.

Dr Kieran Fox, another study participant and a neuroscientist from Stanford University, said the research showed how the non-primate brain structure of cetaceans still allowed sophisticated thinking. Scientists have now identified differences among them that are tied to relative brain size. These branches of evolutionary development helped explain the large brains that primates and in-extension, humans exhibit.

They argue that large brains are an evolutionary response to complex and information-rich social environments. This was the first time either hypothesis had been tested against such a large database on marine mammals. Existing in social groups, they talk to each other and have regional dialects.

The group of species with the largest brain size relative to body size was the large whale-like dolphins such as the killer whale, the similar-looking false killer whale and the pilot whale, Ms. Shultz said. We have firmly placed ourselves at the top of the "best species" list, even though we know so little about the unique intelligence and talents of so many other animals. They, however, have different brain structures from us, leading some researchers to argue that whales and dolphins could not achieve higher cognitive and social skills.

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