We've uploaded a couple more short videos of dolphin behavior to our YouTube page. Here's one of them: a short clip of one of the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins from Mikura swimming by our camera, giving us a close-up view of a fresh, gruesome cookie cutter shark bite.
Cookie cutter sharks are nasty little guys that take round bites out of dolphins, whales and even submarines!
A news story broke today concerning Moko the dolphin - a lone sociable dolphin residing off the coast of New Zealand - who purportedly helped escort two beached pygmy sperm whales to open waters. Here is a BBC article about the incident. And here is a BBC article stemming from this news-story where DCP researcher Justin Gregg is interviewed about inter-species communication.
Here is an interview with Malcolm Smith - the man who witnessed the incident - on CNN.
So did Moko really communicate with the whales and lead them to safety? It's hard to say. Dolphins and whales don't likely have a language that functions in the same way that we think of human language, so it's unlikely that Moko conveyed information like "hey you two, follow me out past this sandbar and I will lead you to open waters." Moko may have been able to communicate with them on some level however - it is likely that different species of cetaceans do share communication signals to some extent. In fact, DCP Director Dr. Kathleen Dudzinski recently gave a presentation at the EAAM conference on Sunday, March 9th in Sweden concerning two species of dolphins (Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins and Atlantic spotted dolphins) that seem to share common behaviors associated with flipper rubbing - a means of tactile communication common among many dolphin species. Moko's communication with the pygmy sperm whales in this news story was not likely to have occurred on a complex, semantic-rich level, but if the account of the events in question is indeed true, then the whales did seem to respond to Moko on some level. There are many stories of dolphins coming to the aid of dolphins, humans and other animals that are in distress - helping to prop them up in the water, etc. Of course the whales may not have had the slightest idea what Moko was all about, but simply followed her as she swam out to sea by the sheer coincidence of her being there. With an anecdote like this, it is impossible to say what the cause of the behavior in question was.
Learn more about dolphin communication and what scientists think about dolphin language at this link .
Discuss the incident on the DCP Forum here .
If you are a news outlet and would like to discuss this incident further, please contact DCP via our website .
*TRIP CANCELLED* - Check back in 2009!
DCP is offering a spring weeklong ecotour to the Roatan Institute for Marine Science at Anthony's Key Resort on Roatan, Honduras from 24 - 31 May 2008. In addition to dolphin swim & dolphin encounter opportunities, participants will assist DCP research staff with our data collection. Learn more about our Roatan ecotour program here. We look forward to having you join us on this newest ecotour program!
DCP now has its very own page on Facebook - here is our profile link . If you have a Facebook account, be sure to add yourself as a Fan of DCP! We are also registered as a Charity/Non-Profit for the Causes application - here is our Causes link. Please add us to your list of charitable organizations on you Facebook profile!
DCP is pleased to introduce an illustrated Christmas web-book: Where do Dolphins Go On Christmas? Written and illustrated by Ranke de Vries, this short children's story is available for download free of charge from the DPC website. Feel free to print out, email and share this story with your friends. Enjoy! Happy Holidays from DCP!
Download a free PDF version of Where do Dolphins Go On Christmas?
DCP's quarterly newsletter the Dolphin Gazette has been released. In this issue: The New & Improved DCP web site & more | Photos from the Field | Research Updates from Bimini & RIMS field seasons | Volunteering with DCP | Umi’ s Haikus | More Ecotours! | Update on DCPYP & DCPDRT programs | Cape Town or Bust - DCP team to present at Biennial Conference
Dolphin Gazette - November 2007 (770 Kb)