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Bubble Ring Play of Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus): Implications for Cognition
  • Brenda McCowan, University of California - Davis
  • Lori Marino, Emory University
  • Erik Vance, Six Flags Marine World
  • Leah Walke, Six Flags Marine World
  • Diana Reiss, New York Aquarium
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Research on the cognitive capacities of dolphins and other cetaceans (whales and porpoises) has importance for the study of comparative cognition, particularly with other large-brained social mammals, such as primates. One of the areas in which cetaceans can be compared with primates is that of object manipulation and physical causality, for which there is an abundant body of literature in primates. The authors supplemented qualitative observations with statistical methods to examine playful bouts of underwater bubble ring production and manipulation in 4 juvenile male captive bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). The results are consistent with the hypothesis that dolphins monitor the quality of their bubble rings and anticipate their actions during bubble ring play.


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Citation Information
McCowan, B., Marino, L., Vance, E., Walke, L., & Reiss, D. (2000). Bubble ring play of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus): implications for cognition. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 114(1), 98.