Culture was once thought to be a trait that was unique to humans, however in the last 15 years culture in non-human primates such as chimps, and more recently cetaceans such as Dolphins and Orca has been observed and finally recognised.
Culture in animals doesn’t mean art galleries, or clothing or anything you might initially think of when the word Culture comes to mind. Instead, it is defined by the passing on of learned behaviours between individuals in the same group, and culture in Dolphin societies was finally recognised in Australia in 2005, with a group of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins teaching their young to use pieces of marine sponge to protect their snouts whilst foraging. Groups of Orca that live in the same area as other groups may have very different food preferences and vocalisations, and teach these to their young, much like a village community teaching their children their customs.
Taking this culture into account is a fantastic step forward and means that instead of just using the location these amazing creatures are found and their family genetic links, conservation approaches will look into their culture, how they behave as individuals and as groups as this may affect their responses to threats and environmental change.
We at Dolphin Seafaris love watching the behaviour of the dolphins we see, we often recognise individuals year on year and enjoy watching them teach their young and pass on their culture. For more about what we’ve been seeing recently, check out Facebook and give us a like!
Even better, to join us on one of our trips to experience these fascinating creatures up close and in their natural environment where their culture is allowed to thrive, call us on 07577 0105 , or email firstname.lastname@example.org.