Female bonding among dolphins makes for good moms

November 3rd, 2010 - 2:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Nov 3 (IANS) Female dolphins who have help from their same sex friends are far more successful as mothers than those without such help.

The finding is based on 25 years of field observations by an international team led by Bill Sherwin of the University of New South Wales School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Australia, and Michael Kruetzen of the University of Zurich.

Sherwin’s doctoral student Celin Frere found that a female’s calving success is boosted either by social association with other females that had high calving success, or by the female having relatives who are good at calving, according to a University of New South Wales statement.

Frere, who is now at the University of Queensland, said it is still unclear why female dolphins need such help to be more successful mothers, the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reported.

“Dolphins in this population are attacked by sharks, so protection by other females may help reproduction,” she said. “But the females may need protection against their own species as well, especially when they are younger,” she added.

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