NEUROTOPIA

Where brains are always on the menu! Serving up a heaping portion of the latest neuroscience news, plus a side of social commentary expertly seasoned with action potentials and cognitive functions. Garnished with general thoughts on science, ethics, and evolution. For dessert, enjoy a sickeningly-sweet understanding of human behavior!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Stupid Dolphin Tricks

And to the growing list of organisms that engage in tool-using behaviors, including chimps, orangs, gorillas, and crows, we can now throw dolphins in the pot.

The dolphins, living in Shark Bay, Western Australia, use conically shaped whole sponges that they tear off the bottom, said Michael Kruetzen, lead author of a report on the dolphins in Tuesday's issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

Researchers suspect the sponges help the foraging dolphins avoid getting stung by stonefish and other critters that hide in the sandy sea bottom, just as a gardener might wear gloves to protect the hands.


Apparently this phenomenon is culturally transmitted from mother to daughter. Oh to conduct a study on dolphin brains of tool users vs. non-tool users.... do they have an underwater fMRI yet?

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