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Planet Earth

Dolphins Protect Themselves With Sponges To Seek Out Bottom-Dwelling Fish

80beatsBy Valerie RossJuly 21, 2011 10:48 PM
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A few years ago, scientists observed that some bottle-nosed dolphins held sponges in their beaks as they poked around the ocean floor, flushing out fish they promptly gobbled up---and that mothers taught this trick to their daughters. In a follow-up study published yesterday, the scientists shed some light on why dolphins go to all this trouble: They're after fatty, energy-rich fish on the seafloor, and the sponges let them scare up a snack without scraping their beaks on sharp rocks or coral. [PLoS One via ScienceNOW]

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