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Acoustic coordination by allied male dolphins in a cooperative context


Moore, Bronte L; Connor, Richard C; Allen, Simon J; Krützen, Michael; King, Stephanie L (2020). Acoustic coordination by allied male dolphins in a cooperative context. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 287(1924):20192944.

Abstract

Synchronous displays are hallmarks of many animal societies, ranging from the pulsing flashes of fireflies, to military marching in humans. Such displays are known to facilitate mate attraction or signal relationship quality. Across many taxa, synchronous male displays appear to be driven by competition, while synchronous displays in humans are thought to be unique in that they serve a cooperative function. Indeed, it is well established that human synchrony promotes cooperative endeavours and increases success in joint action tasks. We examine another system in which synchrony is tightly linked to cooperative behaviour. Male bottlenose dolphins form long-lasting, multi-level, cooperative alliances in which they engage in coordinated efforts to coerce single oestrus females. Previous work has revealed the importance of motor synchrony in dolphin alliance behaviour. Here, we demonstrate that allied dolphins also engage in acoustic coordination whereby males will actively match the tempo and, in some cases, synchronize the production of their threat vocalization when coercing females. This finding demonstrates that male dolphins are capable of acoustic coordination in a cooperative context and, moreover, suggests that both motor and acoustic coordination are features of coalitionary behaviour that are not limited to humans.

Abstract

Synchronous displays are hallmarks of many animal societies, ranging from the pulsing flashes of fireflies, to military marching in humans. Such displays are known to facilitate mate attraction or signal relationship quality. Across many taxa, synchronous male displays appear to be driven by competition, while synchronous displays in humans are thought to be unique in that they serve a cooperative function. Indeed, it is well established that human synchrony promotes cooperative endeavours and increases success in joint action tasks. We examine another system in which synchrony is tightly linked to cooperative behaviour. Male bottlenose dolphins form long-lasting, multi-level, cooperative alliances in which they engage in coordinated efforts to coerce single oestrus females. Previous work has revealed the importance of motor synchrony in dolphin alliance behaviour. Here, we demonstrate that allied dolphins also engage in acoustic coordination whereby males will actively match the tempo and, in some cases, synchronize the production of their threat vocalization when coercing females. This finding demonstrates that male dolphins are capable of acoustic coordination in a cooperative context and, moreover, suggests that both motor and acoustic coordination are features of coalitionary behaviour that are not limited to humans.

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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
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
Life Sciences > General Immunology and Microbiology
Physical Sciences > General Environmental Science
Life Sciences > General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
Uncontrolled Keywords:General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology, General Immunology and Microbiology, General Agricultural and Biological Sciences, General Environmental Science, General Medicine
Language:English
Date:8 April 2020
Deposited On:13 Nov 2020 05:54
Last Modified:23 Nov 2020 10:20
Publisher:Royal Society Publishing
ISSN:0962-8452
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2019.2944
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID31003A_149956
  • : Project TitleMale career moves - the genomics of cooperative behaviour and alliance formation in male bottlenose dolphins

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