If you have ever watched a dolphin show, you have probably seen the mammals tail-walking - A trick that the playful creatures are taught by their trainers. However, this phenomenon has rarely been seen in the wild - Until now and, you will be amazed to read how the skill was obtained.
Dr. Mike Bossley, a researcher at the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, who has been observing the fun-loving Adelaide Port River dolphins for many years, said it all began with Billie, a 23-year-old adult dolphin.
About five years ago he noticed the female dolphin tail walking - Having seen it only once or twice in his entire 22-year career, he started to observe her more carefully. To his astonishment, he was soon joined by Wave, another female adult dolphin. However, Wave seemed to enjoy it so much that she started doing it more often - about once a day.
And it gets better - Today five years later, four other dolphins have learned to walk backwards on their tails. It seems that Wave has passed her skills on to her calf Tallula and, Bianca, another female dolphin has joined in the fun with her calf Hope, as, has another baby dolphin called Bubb. And unlike Billie, these dolphins are not afraid to have fun - They tail walk as often as they want - sometimes two to three times a day.
Since tail-walking is so rare in the wild, the researchers were initially puzzled about how Billie got a hang of it. They then recalled that about 22 years ago, the dolphin had been caught in a trap and had to spend three weeks in a dolphinarium. While she was not taught the skill, she seemed to have learnt it, by observing the trainers teaching other dolphins. She not only recalled it about 15 years later, but has also managed to pass it on to the rest of the dolphins in the area.
While researchers are impressed by the sharing of knowledge, they are not surprised. These mammals have constantly surprised us with their intelligence - Ranging from how carefully they prepare their food to playing soccer using jellyfish and even, mastering the iPad!
Sources: telegraph.co.uk, dailymail.co.uk