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Dolphins know the difference between kooks and locals



Environment Updates

Surfing could very much be part of defining social standing for dolphin groups

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 17 February, 2017 - Gold Coast, Australia - A leading Southern Cross University researcher says dolphins may use surfing to define social status within their group.

Dr Liz Hawkins said more research is needed but that the animals use activities to decide who stands where within the pod.

“Surfing could be part of defining social standing, play, reproductive activities and feeding,” she said. “They can use the waves as stealth after forcing fish in close to shore.”

With the help from a small group of spotters on the Gold Coast, Hawkins has built a database of animals and counted and logged almost 500 dolphins from the Ballina to Bribie Island.

She also added that the dolphins in the area tend to froth when the surf gets good.

“When there is a flat spell for a few days and we get a lot of swell they seem to love it,” Hawkins told The Bulletin. “There’s absolutely an element of fun, I think it is part of their culture, however it is hard to prove scientifically.”

However, she added that it's often the same group of dolphins who surf the same lineupe.

“They are localised, which means they have areas they occupy all year around,” Dr Hawkins said.

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