(ORDO NEWS) — Swiss scientists have found that if male dolphins are popular with their relatives, they tend to produce more offspring.
Scientists have found that male dolphins form groups of 2-3 individuals to mate with females. And the more authoritative this or that male, the more offspring he has.
The reproductive success of male dolphins is determined not by their physical strength or age, but by social bonds with other males. The better the male is integrated into his social network, the more offspring he produces, showed a new study conducted by scientists from the University of Zurich (Switzerland).
How do social bonds work in male dolphins
The study found that male dolphins in Australia’s Shark Bay form complex and stable social groups that help them find females to mate or fight off potential mates from rivals. Experts also noticed an interesting relationship – the more popular a male is in his group, the more offspring he can produce.
Before drawing such conclusions, the researchers analyzed a 30-year summary of data on the lives of 85 male dolphins. The scientists were also able to perform a paternity test on 400 dolphins to determine their genetic connection.
As a result, it turned out that males, which are especially popular among their relatives, produce more offspring than others. At the same time, neither age, nor physical strength, nor health mattered – it was authority that played the main role.
The researchers note that such social connections are quite rare – it was previously believed that only certain species of primates were capable of such behavior.
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