Despite evolving to live in different mediums, dolphins and humans share some spooky similarities. Described by leading researchers as ‘aliens’ on our planet, dolphins are extraordinarily intelligent. Calves learn to recognise themselves in a mirror, and go through the same stages of mirror exploration as human children: first a playful response, then testing the mirror before self-directed behaviours into the mirror. Young dolphins wiggle and dance in front of a mirror like a giggling toddler might.
These marine mammals are also able to use basic tools. Like using an oven glove, bottlenose dolphins in Australia forage in rocky sand with a sponge Clamped between their teeth. They’re even conscious of their dental health. Bottlenose dolphins that drive fish to the shore of muddy swamps always lunge up the banks on the same side. This protects half of their teeth from, erosion from the gritty mud.
The incredible thing is that this kind of behaviour varies from group to group. These bands of dolphins learn new life hacks and teach their young to do the same. They even have regional dialects. This is a fine example of animal culture, with traditions being handed down to new generations all over the globe, just like the beginnings of human society.