Igrivi delfini plavajo tik nad gladino. Vir: Pickpik
Igrivi delfini plavajo tik nad gladino. Vir: Pickpik

Dolphins do not accept everyone as a friend

Dolphins are picky when weaving friendly ties. Already in adolescence, they carefully form groups in which they develop life skills.

Dolphins have been observed in Shark Bay, Australia for thirty years. In a recent study, scientists revealed how bottlenose dolphins form friendly networks.

Between the ages of three and four, they leave the safe environment of their parents and begin to socialize with their peers.

An individual pup can only stay with another for a few minutes, but spends more time with some and closer bonds are formed between them.

»Growing up can be an opportunity to develop social skills that become important in adulthood,« explained co-author Allison A. Galezo of the behaviour of young dolphins.

Social patterns also vary by gender. Females spend more time with relatives or alone.

Young males, on the other hand, form a broader social network. Their more enduring alliances were maintained into adulthood as well.

For males, alliances are important because they look for females to mate with in groups of two or three. For female dolphins, however, it is important to have enough energy and food while caring for the pups.

Researchers conclude that more complex social bonds are formed in species that reach sexual maturity later in development.

Community formation and relationships during adolescence are in humans even more diverse and less sexually defined than dolphins are familiar with.

Points to Consider

  1. What is important for you in your friends?
  2. How do you chose them?
  3. How do dolphins play?


The original version of this article was published on July 30th.

English translation courtesy of JL FlannerTotal Slovenia News, an English language website with news from and about Slovenia.


Adamič je biologinja in dramaturginja, ljubiteljica živali in pisane besede.

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