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Study: Dolphins Form Cliques, Complex Social Networks

posted: 05/06/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
Bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus.
Jeff Foott/DCL

It's not secret that dolphins are social animals, but a new study from Florida Atlantic University reveals just how social our undersea friends are.

After following 200 bottlenose dolphins for over six years in Florida's Indian River Lagoon, researchers determined that the creatures develop highly complex social networks. Within each of the lagoon's dolphin communities, dolphins exhibit clear preference and avoidance behavior with other dolphins.

Researchers also noted how geography influenced the dolphins' social tendencies. "Communities that occupy the narrowest stretches of the Indian River Lagoon have the most compact social networks, similar to humans who live in small towns and have fewer people with whom to interact," said biologist Elizabeth Murdoch Titcomb.

The team's research is published in the latest edition of the journal Marine Mammal Science.

Click here for more from the Florida Atlantic University

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