When it comes to working together, male dolphins coordinate their behavior just like us. New findings, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B by an international team of researchers from the Universities of Western Australia and Bristol, provide insight into the importance of physical and vocal coordination in alliance forming animals.
© Dolphin Alliance Project sharkbaydolphins.org | Cooperative male dolphins match the tempo of each other's calls

In humans, synchronized actions can lead to increased feelings of bonding, foster cooperation and diminish the perceived threat of rivals. Outside of humans, very few animals coordinate both vocal signals and
  when working together.
The study used long-term acoustic data collected from the famous population of dolphins in Shark Bay, Western Australia, to show that allied  also match the tempo of their partner's calls when working together, and would sometimes even produce their calls in sync.
It was previously thought that only humans used both physical and verbal synchronized actions to strengthen bonds and enhance cooperative effort.
Lead author Bronte Moore, who carried out the study while working at UWA's School of Biological Sciences said: "Allied male bottlenose dolphins are also well known for this kind of behavior and can form alliances that can last for decades.
"To advertise their alliance relationships and maintain their social bonds, they rely on synchronous movements. We wanted to know whether they would also synchronize their vocal behavior."
The study showed that male bottlenose dolphins not only synchronize their movements but also coordinate their vocal behavior when cooperating together in alliances.
Such behavior suggests this might help reduce tension between the males in a context that requires them to cooperate successfully.
Dr. Stephanie King, Senior Lecturer from Bristol's School of Biological Sciences who guided the research, added: "Male dolphins need to work together to herd a female and defend her from rival alliances, but they are also competing to fertilize her.
"Such synchronous and coordinated behavior between allied males may, therefore, promote cooperative behavior and regulate stress, as it has been shown to do in humans."
This article was originally published by the University of Bristol.
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