Dolphins Use Wingmen to Get Laid Like Humans, Study Says

We already knew that dolphins are pretty smart. In fact, some scientists are even debating whether or not we should consider them people. Now, a new study found that dolphins are so clever that they are capable of creating the largest organized social networks outside of humans… all to help them get laid.In a paper

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We already knew that dolphins are pretty smart. In fact, some scientists are even debating whether or not we should consider them people. Now, a new study found that dolphins are so clever that they are capable of creating the largest organized social networks outside of humans… all to help them get laid.

In a paper published Monday in the journal The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, an international team of researchers observed a multi-level alliance network between 121 male bottlenose dolphins off the coast of Western Australia. They found that the males would create cooperative relationship networks with one another in order to help each other court female dolphins.

So, just like humans, dolphins also use wingmen to try to woo women.

“Cooperation between allies is widespread in human societies and one of the hallmarks of our success,” Stephanie King, a biologist at the University of Bristol and co-lead author of the paper, said in a press release. “Our capacity to build strategic, cooperative relationships at multiple social levels, such as trade or military alliances both nationally and internationally, was once thought unique to our species.”

According to the study, the dolphins form several levels of alliances: first-order alliances, which are two to three males who pursue and guard individual females; second-order alliances, which are four to 14 unrelated males (typically several different first order alliances); and third-order alliances, which are combinations of several second-order alliances. These groups work together to help herd and protect female dolphins from outside groups.

The findings are some of the strongest evidence of intergroup cooperation outside of primates like chimpanzees and humans. The insights shed even more light into “the evolution of characteristics previously thought to be uniquely human,” King explained.

“Our work highlights that dolphin societies, as well as those of nonhuman primates, are valuable model systems for understanding human social and cognitive evolution,” she added.

The paper underscores something we’ve understood about bottlenose dolphins for a while: they like to work together. The insights also shed light on cooperation as an evolutionary trait in mammals. Even other species understand that they are stronger when collaborating and cooperating with one another rather than working apart.

Now, if only more humans can learn that lesson too…

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