UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

A novel mammalian social structure in Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops sp.): complex male alliances in an open social network


Randic, S; Connor, R C; Sherwin, W B; Krützen, M (2012). A novel mammalian social structure in Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops sp.): complex male alliances in an open social network. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 279(1740):3083-3090.

Abstract

Terrestrial mammals with differentiated social relationships live in 'semi-closed groups' that occasionally accept new members emigrating from other groups. Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops sp.) in Shark Bay, Western Australia, exhibit a fission-fusion grouping pattern with strongly differentiated relationships, including nested male alliances. Previous studies failed to detect a group membership 'boundary', suggesting that the dolphins live in an open social network. However, two alternative hypotheses have not been excluded. The community defence model posits that the dolphins live in a large semi-closed 'chimpanzee-like' community defended by males and predicts that a dominant alliance(s) will range over the entire community range. The mating season defence model predicts that alliances will defend mating-season territories or sets of females. Here, both models are tested and rejected: no alliances ranged over the entire community range and alliances showed extensive overlap in mating season ranges and consorted females. The Shark Bay dolphins, therefore, present a combination of traits that is unique among mammals: complex male alliances in an open social network. The open social network of dolphins is linked to their relatively low costs of locomotion. This reveals a surprising and previously unrecognized convergence between adaptations reducing travel costs and complex intergroup-alliance relationships in dolphins, elephants and humans.

Terrestrial mammals with differentiated social relationships live in 'semi-closed groups' that occasionally accept new members emigrating from other groups. Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops sp.) in Shark Bay, Western Australia, exhibit a fission-fusion grouping pattern with strongly differentiated relationships, including nested male alliances. Previous studies failed to detect a group membership 'boundary', suggesting that the dolphins live in an open social network. However, two alternative hypotheses have not been excluded. The community defence model posits that the dolphins live in a large semi-closed 'chimpanzee-like' community defended by males and predicts that a dominant alliance(s) will range over the entire community range. The mating season defence model predicts that alliances will defend mating-season territories or sets of females. Here, both models are tested and rejected: no alliances ranged over the entire community range and alliances showed extensive overlap in mating season ranges and consorted females. The Shark Bay dolphins, therefore, present a combination of traits that is unique among mammals: complex male alliances in an open social network. The open social network of dolphins is linked to their relatively low costs of locomotion. This reveals a surprising and previously unrecognized convergence between adaptations reducing travel costs and complex intergroup-alliance relationships in dolphins, elephants and humans.

Citations

22 citations in Web of Science®
23 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Downloads

2 downloads since deposited on 12 Feb 2013
0 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Anthropology
Dewey Decimal Classification:300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:12 Feb 2013 12:32
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 16:24
Publisher:Royal Society Publishing
ISSN:0962-8452
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2012.0264
PubMed ID:22456886
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-71798

Download

[img]
Content: Published Version
Filetype: PDF - Registered users only
Size: 911kB
View at publisher

TrendTerms

TrendTerms displays relevant terms of the abstract of this publication and related documents on a map. The terms and their relations were extracted from ZORA using word statistics. Their timelines are taken from ZORA as well. The bubble size of a term is proportional to the number of documents where the term occurs. Red, orange, yellow and green colors are used for terms that occur in the current document; red indicates high interlinkedness of a term with other terms, orange, yellow and green decreasing interlinkedness. Blue is used for terms that have a relation with the terms in this document, but occur in other documents.
You can navigate and zoom the map. Mouse-hovering a term displays its timeline, clicking it yields the associated documents.

Author Collaborations