Abstract: Synchronous behaviors by dolphins in the wild are noted repeatedly. Recent fine-tuned assessments in the laboratory of the development of synchrony in newborn calves vis-à-vis their mothers highlight the strong predisposition of mother-calf pairs to spend most of their time behaving synchronously. Because dolphin calves apparently move continuously for the first month of their lives and stop comparatively infrequently for the first three months, the substantial energetic benefit they gain through slipstreaming may provide a mandate for mother-calf synchrony in terms of calf survival. We speculate that this constant intimate contact may lead to a succession of developmental stages in the calf that proceed from passive to active maintenance of synchrony and ultimately to imitation. This progression may explain shared within-group behaviors like mud-bank fishing, sponging, and herding.

Key Words: CETACEAN; DOLPHIN; SYNCHRONY; SYNCHRONOUS MOVEMENT; IMITATION; DEVELOPMENT OF BEHAVIOR; APPLIED COGNITION; OBSERVATIONAL LEARNING

Document Type: Research article

DOI: 10.1578/AM.32.4.2006.511

Page Numbers: 511 - 516

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