Dolphins Teach Us That Successful Moms Have Help From Friends

GreenTracker|Successful dolphin moms get help from their friends.

Surprisingly, scientists have never studied the genetic and social effects on reproduction in natural populations. We have the nurturers who believe it counts for reproductive success; and we have the geneticists. According to researchers, the combined premises — that both nurturing and genetics contribute to healthy dolphins with long lives — haven’t been quantified until now.

For 25 years, the dophin population at Shark Bay, in Western Australia, has been under observation. Doctoral student Celine Frere had the brilliant idea of comparing existing film footage of dolphins with their genetic information and longevity histories.

The researchers determined that a female dolphin’s calving success is boosted either by social association with other females with high calving succes, or by the female having relatives who are good at calving. The benefits of having ‘successful mother’ dolphin friends was even more important for female pairs who were less genetically related. Read on at Science Daily.