Rare footage of dolphins teaching calf recorded

November 2nd, 2010 - 3:32 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Nov 2 (IANS) Extraordinary events from a baby dolphin’s life have been filmed for the first time — including of an older calf giving an infant a lesson about how to fish.

The makers of “The Dolphins of Shark Bay”, a BBC2 documentary, used miniature cameras to capture the first hours of a calf’s life and previously unseen sights that point to the animals’ intelligence and complex relationships.

The documentary, to be aired Wednesday, also shows a young female’s attempt to kidnap the baby bottlenose dolphin, various hunting techniques used by the mammals and a shark attack.

Scientists studying the dolphins off the coast of Australia are now planning to investigate further, reports the Daily Mail.

The film follows Puck and her eighth calf Samu — two of the bottlenose dolphins in Shark Bay, western Australia, which is the foremost site for research into the marine mammals.

Puck leads a group of dolphins nicknamed ‘the Beachies’ because of their hunting technique of driving fish across the shallows towards the shore.

Georgetown University professor Janet Mann in the US, who leads the research into dolphins in the bay, said: “I have followed Puck through her every pregnancy over the last 20 years and we probably know more about Puck than any other wild dolphin.”

The documentary includes footage of an unusual gathering of unrelated females meeting baby Samu at a ‘greet-the-newborn’ social event and his family of dolphins working together to protect the youngster from a shark.

“Given the complexity of their hunting, we have long hoped to see behaviour that looks like teaching,” Mann said.

“It is very hard to capture such rare events but the film shows Samu apparently being taught how to catch smaller fish by an older calf (Samu’s niece),” Mann added.

Nick Stringer, director of the Big Wave Productions documentary for the BBC’s Natural World series, said the film provided a “rare window into the lives of these extraordinary creatures”.

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