Wild dolphins can amazingly also tail-walk on water!

August 20th, 2008 - 4:39 pm ICT by ANI  

London, August 20 (ANI): Scientists have been stunned to see a group of wild dolphins tail-walking on water in the south Australian coast, which has been seen only in trained dolphins till now.

Tail walking is a trick where a dolphin rises vertically to the surface and uses its powerful tail to drive itself backwards.

According to a report in the Telegraph, this trick may have been picked up by Billie, a female bottlenose dolphin.

In the early 1980s, she was rescued sick and malnourished from a marina where she had become trapped. She was kept in a concrete enclosure at a dolphinarium and was nursed back to health before being released back into the wild.

But, it seems that during her brief stay, she may have watched other dolphins performing tail-walking and picked up the skill herself and passed it on to other dolphins in her group.

I have observed all the local dolphins over a number of years, and have watched Billie occasionally performing tail-walks in the years since her release, sometimes in the bow wave of large ships, which is an awesome sight, said Dr Mike Bossley, of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) in Australia.

About five years ago another female dolphin called Wave began performing the same behaviour, but does so with much greater regularity than Billie. A third adult female dolphin has also been seen tail-walking, he added.

The scientists are trying to work out whether the behaviour might be a form of play or communication, and whether it is likely other members of the dolphin group will inherit the tail-walking knack.

If tail-walking is a true cultural behaviour, it will gradually spread through the local population, probably by being adopted by youngsters, said Bossley.

These are things that groups develop and are passed between individuals and that come to define those groups, such as language or dancing; and it would seem that among the Port River dolphins we may have an incipient tail-walking culture, he added.

According to Cathy Williamson, anti-captivity campaigner for WDCS, This behaviour by the Adelaide dolphins demonstrates their intelligence and is even more proof that these animals are unsuitable for confinement in captivity, where they are unable to express natural behaviour or form normal social groups with other animals. (ANI)

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