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Nature & Environment

Whales and dolphins lead 'human-like lives'

By T.K. Randall
October 17, 2017 · Comment icon 8 comments

They may live in the sea, but their lives are not that dissimilar to our own. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 CSIRO
Scientists have linked the brain size of cetaceans to the 'human-like' nature of their social behaviors.
While the underwater existence of dolphins, whales and other similar species might seem totally alien to us at a glance, in reality there is much about the lives of these creatures that is surprisingly familiar.

In a recent study, scientists compiled a list of behaviors in 90 species of whales, dolphins and porpoises and found that the larger the brain, the more 'human-like' their lives happened to be.

The research points to what is known as the 'cultural brain hypothesis', which suggests that intelligence originally developed as a way of coping with complex social groups.
In cetaceans, common social behaviors include hunting together, learning from observation, the development of regional dialects and adult animals taking on the job of raising unrelated young.

It is already well established that whales and dolphins tend to learn socially rather than individually and scientists found that the more isolated the species, the smaller its brain.

"It is interesting to think that whale and human brains are different in their structure but have brought us to the same patterns in behavior," said biologist Luke Rendell from the University of St Andrews.

"The extent of how this is close to humans can educate us about evolutionary forces in general."

Source: The Guardian | Comments (8)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Nostrodumbass 6 years ago
I hope their brain capacity doesn't evolve far enough for them to start worrying whether god is real or not, or if hes angry with them or not.  Just keep swimming dolphins! Don't you stop to think!
Comment icon #2 Posted by Paulywally 6 years ago
Clearly they don't wage enough war to be on our level.
Comment icon #3 Posted by paperdyer 6 years ago
Tell that to the man-eating sharks.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Nzo 6 years ago
I feel sorry for these marine mammals, all marine life. They are intelligent creatures that should not have to put up with mans ignorance and malice. Fascinating creatures that should not be hunted.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Matt221 6 years ago
Not only that they sleep with one eye open ..... and eat fish
Comment icon #6 Posted by paperdyer 6 years ago
Speaking of sleeping, how do the dolphins and other se mammals do it?  Seeing they need air, where do they sleep in the middle of the ocean?  Even with one eye open just floating on the surface of the ocean must have some risk to it.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Matt221 6 years ago
All you ever need to know  
Comment icon #8 Posted by TripGun 6 years ago
I tried to play chess with a dolphin once and I think they are kind of stupid.

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