Captive bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) spontaneously using water flow to manipulate objects.
ABSTRACT: Several terrestrial animals and delphinids manipulate objects in a tactile manner, using parts of their bodies, such as their mouths or hands. In this paper, we report that bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) manipulate objects not by direct bodily contact, but by spontaneous water flow. Three of four dolphins at Suma Aqualife Park performed object manipulation with food. The typical sequence of object manipulation consisted of a three step procedure. First, the dolphins released the object from the sides of their mouths while assuming a head-down posture near the floor. They then manipulated the object around their mouths and caught it. Finally, they ceased to engage in their head-down posture and started to swim. When the dolphins moved the object, they used the water current in the pool or moved their head. These results showed that dolphins manipulate objects using movements that do not directly involve contact between a body part and the object. In the event the dolphins dropped the object on the floor, they lifted it by making water flow in one of three methods: opening and closing their mouths repeatedly, moving their heads lengthwise, or making circular head motions. This result suggests that bottlenose dolphins spontaneously change their environment to manipulate objects. The reason why aquatic animals like dolphins do object manipulation by changing their environment but terrestrial animals do not may be that the viscosity of the aquatic environment is much higher than it is in terrestrial environments. This is the first report thus far of any non-human mammal engaging in object manipulation using several methods to change their environment.
Project description:Many animal species engage in social object play with movable objects. Two bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and one Risso's dolphin (Grampus griseus) owned by the Kujukushima Aquarium, Japan, occasionally shared and played with an object. Herein, we report social object play between two dolphins exchanging a ball in water. Just before delivery of the ball, one dolphin made an action to request the ball from the dolphin that possessed the ball. This request behavior is also discussed in this report. This study is the first to report two different cetacean species engaging in social object play with one object.
Project description:In animal communication research, vocal labeling refers to incidents in which an animal consistently uses a specific acoustic signal when presented with a specific object or class of objects. Labeling with learned signals is a foundation of human language but is notably rare in nonhuman communication systems. In natural animal systems, labeling often occurs with signals that are not influenced by learning, such as in alarm and food calling. There is a suggestion, however, that some species use learned signals to label conspecific individuals in their own communication system when mimicking individually distinctive calls. Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) are a promising animal for exploration in this area because they are capable of vocal production learning and can learn to use arbitrary signals to report the presence or absence of objects. Bottlenose dolphins develop their own unique identity signal, the signature whistle. This whistle encodes individual identity independently of voice features. The copying of signature whistles may therefore allow animals to label or address one another. Here, we show that wild bottlenose dolphins respond to hearing a copy of their own signature whistle by calling back. Animals did not respond to whistles that were not their own signature. This study provides compelling evidence that a dolphin's learned identity signal is used as a label when addressing conspecifics. Bottlenose dolphins therefore appear to be unique as nonhuman mammals to use learned signals as individually specific labels for different social companions in their own natural communication system.
Project description:Targeted approaches have been widely used to help explain physiological adaptations, but few studies have used non-targeted omics approaches to explore differences between diving marine mammals and terrestrial mammals. A rank comparison of undepleted serum proteins from common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and pooled normal human serum led to the discovery of 11 proteins that appeared exclusive to dolphin serum. Compared to the comprehensive human plasma proteome, 5 of 11 serum proteins had a differential rank greater than 200. One of these proteins, Vanin-1, was quantified using parallel reaction monitoring in dolphins under human care and free-ranging dolphins. Dolphin serum Vanin-1 ranged between 31-106??g/ml, which is 20-1000 times higher than concentrations reported for healthy humans. Serum Vanin-1 was also higher in dolphins under human care compared to free-ranging dolphins (64?±?16 vs. 47?±?12??g/ml P?<?0.05). Vanin-1 levels positively correlated with liver enzymes AST and ALT, and negatively correlated with white blood cell counts and fibrinogen in free-ranging dolphins. Major differences exist in the circulating blood proteome of the bottlenose dolphin compared to terrestrial mammals and exploration of these differences in bottlenose dolphins and other marine mammals may identify veiled protective strategies to counter physiological stress.
Project description:Bottlenose dolphins use auditory (or echoic) information to recognise their environments, and many studies have described their echolocation perception abilities. However, relatively few systematic studies have examined their visual perception. We tested dolphins on a visual-matching task using two-dimensional geometric forms including various features. Based on error patterns, we used multidimensional scaling to analyse perceptual similarities among stimuli. In addition to dolphins, we conducted comparable tests with terrestrial species: chimpanzees were tested on a computer-controlled matching task and humans were tested on a rating task. The overall perceptual similarities among stimuli in dolphins were similar to those in the two species of primates. These results clearly indicate that the visual world is perceived similarly by the three species of mammals, even though each has adapted to a different environment and has differing degrees of dependence on vision.
Project description:What does it mean to "know" what an object is? Viewing objects from different categories (e.g., tools vs. animals) engages distinct brain regions, but it is unclear whether these differences reflect object categories themselves or the tendency to interact differently with objects from different categories (grasping tools, not animals). Here we test how the brain constructs representations of objects that one learns to name or physically manipulate. Participants learned to name or tie different knots and brain activity was measured whilst performing a perceptual discrimination task with these knots before and after training. Activation in anterior intraparietal sulcus, a region involved in object manipulation, was specifically engaged when participants viewed knots they learned to tie. This suggests that object knowledge is linked to sensorimotor experience and its associated neural systems for object manipulation. Findings are consistent with a theory of embodiment in which there can be clear overlap in brain systems that support conceptual knowledge and control of object manipulation.
Project description:Few accounts describe predator-prey interactions between common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus Montagu 1821) and marine catfish (Ariopsis felis Linnaeus 1766, Bagre marinus Mitchill 1815). Over the course of 50,167 sightings of bottlenose dolphin groups in Mississippi Sound and along the Florida coast of the Gulf of Mexico, severed catfish heads were found floating and exhibiting movements at the surface in close proximity to 13 dolphin groups that demonstrated feeding behavior. These observations prompted a multi-disciplinary approach to study the predator-prey relationship between bottlenose dolphins and marine catfish. A review was conducted of bottlenose dolphin visual survey data and dorsal fin photographs from sightings where severed catfish heads were observed. Recovered severed catfish heads were preserved and studied, whole marine catfish were collected and examined, and stranding network pathology reports were reviewed for references to injuries related to fish spines. Photographic identification analysis confirms eight dolphins associated with severed catfish heads were present in three such sightings across an approximately 350 km expanse of coast between the Mississippi Sound and Saint Joseph Bay, FL. An examination of the severed catfish heads indicated interaction with dolphins, and fresh-caught whole hardhead catfish (A. felis) were examined to estimate the presumed total length of the catfish before decapitation. Thirty-eight instances of significant trauma or death in dolphins attributed to ingesting whole marine catfish were documented in stranding records collected from the southeastern United States of America. Bottlenose dolphins typically adhere to a ram-feeding strategy for prey capture followed by whole prey ingestion; however, marine catfish skull morphology may pose a consumption hazard due to rigid spines that can puncture and migrate through soft tissue, prompting a prey handling technique for certain dolphins, facilitating consumption of the posterior portion of the fish without the head.
Project description:The present study was aimed at determining the characteristics of plasma metabolites in bottlenose dolphins to provide a greater understanding of their metabolism and to obtain information for the health management of cetaceans. Capillary electrophoresis-time-of-flight mass spectrometry (CE-TOFMS) and liquid chromatograph-time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LC-TOFMS) were conducted on plasma samples after overnight fasting from three common bottlenose dolphins as well as three beagle dogs (representative terrestrial carnivores) for comparison. In total, 257 and 227 plasma metabolites were identified in the dolphins and the dogs, respectively. Although a small number of animals were used for each species, the heatmap patterns, a principal component analysis and a cluster analysis confirmed that the composition of metabolites could be segregated from each other. Of 257 compounds detected in dolphin plasma, 24 compounds including branched amino acids, creatinine, urea, and methylhistidine were more abundant than in dogs; 26 compounds including long-chained acyl-carnitines and fatty acids, astaxanthin, and pantothenic acid were detected only in dolphins. In contrast, 25 compounds containing lactic acid and glycerol 3-phosphate were lower in dolphins compared to dogs. These data imply active protein metabolism, differences in usage of lipids, a unique urea cycle, and a low activity of the glycolytic pathway in dolphins.
Project description:Visual attention is often predictive for future actions in humans. In manipulation tasks, the eyes tend to fixate an object of interest even before the reach-to-grasp is initiated. Some recent studies have proposed to exploit this anticipatory gaze behavior to improve the control of dexterous upper limb prostheses. This requires a detailed understanding of visuomotor coordination to determine in which temporal window gaze may provide helpful information. In this paper, we verify and quantify the gaze and motor behavior of 14 transradial amputees who were asked to grasp and manipulate common household objects with their missing limb. For comparison, we also include data from 30 able-bodied subjects who executed the same protocol with their right arm. The dataset contains gaze, first person video, angular velocities of the head, and electromyography and accelerometry of the forearm. To analyze the large amount of video, we developed a procedure based on recent deep learning methods to automatically detect and segment all objects of interest. This allowed us to accurately determine the pixel distances between the gaze point, the target object, and the limb in each individual frame. Our analysis shows a clear coordination between the eyes and the limb in the reach-to-grasp phase, confirming that both intact and amputated subjects precede the grasp with their eyes by more than 500 ms. Furthermore, we note that the gaze behavior of amputees was remarkably similar to that of the able-bodied control group, despite their inability to physically manipulate the objects.
Project description:In comparison with terrestrial animals, such as primates, there is limited empirical evidence for cooperative behavior in marine mammals under experimental conditions. In this study, we used a cooperative rope-pulling task to investigate how bottlenose dolphins (<i>Tursiops truncatus</i>) coordinate their behavior with a partner. Dolphins successfully learned and were able to perform the task, even when one subject started after the other. In the no-delay condition (i.e., both subjects sent at the same time), one pair of dolphins showed coordinated behaviors. When pairs were successful in solving the task in the delay condition (i.e., one individual sent later than the other), the initiators (i.e., first individual sent) were likely to wait for the follower to arrive, and the follower was likely to swim faster when the initiator did not wait and started pulling the rope alone. These coordinated behaviors might help resolve the given cooperative task. Our results suggest that bottlenose dolphins learn to coordinate their behaviors via trial and error and recognize the necessity of performing simultaneous actions with a partner to successfully accomplish cooperative tasks. In addition, both partners showed behavioral changes over many trials of no-delay and delay conditions, suggesting that bidirectional coordination occurred in the cooperative task.
Project description:Object names are a major component of early vocabularies and learning object names depends on being able to visually recognize objects in the world. However, the fundamental visual challenge of the moment-to-moment variations in object appearances that learners must resolve has received little attention in word learning research. Here we provide the first evidence that image-level object variability matters and may be the link that connects infant object manipulation to vocabulary development. Using head-mounted eye tracking, the present study objectively measured individual differences in the moment-to-moment variability of visual instances of the same object, from infants' first-person views. Infants who generated more variable visual object images through manual object manipulation at 15 months of age experienced greater vocabulary growth over the next six months. Elucidating infants' everyday visual experiences with objects may constitute a crucial missing link in our understanding of the developmental trajectory of object name learning.