Dolphins act like ‘boy bands’ to attract mates, say scientists


Looks like it’s not just the human world that has discovered the attention potential of TikTok dancing. According to marine scientists, dolphins engage in synchronized singing and movements with their friends to attract a mate, a ritual they liken to boy bands performing in concert. Read on to see how the Dolphins act like the Backstreet Boys.

Unsplash/Yale Cohen

“You’ll hear this, ‘Click click click click’, and the beat and tempo will be matched by these tightly knit males in this world of bromance,” said Simon Allen, co-director of the Shark Bay Dolphin Research Alliance (SBDRA). . ABC News in Australia this week.

Allen observed male dolphins, in groups of four to 14, making syncopated movements while singing in unison to attract females. He gave the dances nicknames such as “The Butterfly Display” and “The Tango”.

“It has been very clearly demonstrated in humans and some other primates that when you perform these synchronous movements and sing in unison, it decreases the perceived threat of opponents,” he said.


Previous studies have shown that male dolphins “sing” using their “popping” calls, vocalizations that attract females. To human ears, they sound like a series of rapid clicks. Clicking sounds are only used during mating times, and scientists believe group synchronized clicking is a way to make these sounds hard to ignore and increase the chance of successful pairing. “Boy bands” – or dolphin wingers, if you will – have been observed to stay together for decades, increasing the chances of reproductive success.

Two dolphins swimming together

Allen is just one of the scientists at SBDRA, which hosts American researchers who study dolphins native to Shark Bay, which are among the most studied in the world.

Scientists already made headlines last March with the results of a study that found popular dolphins – those who have more alliances with other male dolphins within larger social groups – do better at mate. “Well-integrated males may be better placed to exploit the benefits of cooperation and access crucial resources such as food or mates. They may also be more resilient to mate loss than those with few mates, but closer,” said study co-author Livia Gerber.

dolphin friends

According to National Geographic, dolphins are social mammals that live in groups of a dozen or more and communicate with squeaks, whistles and clicks. They are mammals, so they are warm-blooded and nurse their young. Dolphins have more than one mate and usually produce a single offspring that will remain with the mother for up to six years.

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dolphin facts, dolphin kissing each other

Meredith MacQueeney, Ph.D. Georgetown University student described dolphins as “really intelligent mammals”.

“They have quite a different social system from ours,” she told ABC. “And studying these animals allows us to think about questions like, you know, what is the nature of intelligence? How did that evolve?”

But are they wiser in the ways of love and seduction? It remains unclear.


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