Cooperation increases bottlenose dolphins' (Tursiops truncatus) social affiliation

Anim Cogn. 2023 May 4. doi: 10.1007/s10071-023-01781-2. Online ahead of print.ABSTRACTDolphins live in a fission-fusion society, where strong social bonds and alliances can last for decades. However, the mechanism that allows dolphins to form such strong social bonds is still unclear. Here, we hypothesized the existence of a positive feedback mechanism in which social affiliation promotes dolphins' cooperation, which in turn promotes their social affiliation. To test it, we stimulated the cooperation of the 11 dolphins studied by providing a cooperative enrichment tool based on a rope-pulling task to access a resource. Then we measured the social affiliation [simple ratio index (SRI)] of each possible pair of dolphins and evaluated whether it increased after cooperation. We also evaluated whether, before cooperation, pairs that cooperated had a higher SRI than those that did not cooperate. Our findings showed that the 11 cooperating pairs had significantly stronger social affiliation before cooperation than the 15 non-cooperating pairs. Furthermore, cooperating pairs significantly increased their social affiliation after cooperation, while non-cooperating pairs did not. As a result, our findings provide support to our hypothesis, and suggest that the previous social affiliation between dolphins facilitates cooperation, which in turn promotes their social affiliation.PMID:37140723 | DOI:10.1007/s10071-023-01781-2
Source: Animal Cognition - Category: Zoology Authors: Source Type: research
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