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Dolphins wield tools of the sea

Some bottlenose dolphins use sea sponges to forage for fish on the ocean floor, perhaps passing the behavior on as a social tradition

By
6:52pm, December 9, 2008

It’s not mealtime for certain bottlenose dolphins living off Australia’s coast unless they sport cone-shaped sea sponges on their beaks. These mammals are  not following a strange, marine-based dress code. Their behavior has been identified as the first clear case of tool use by wild dolphins or whales, a new study concludes.

These dolphins dive to the bottom of deep channels and poke their sponge-covered beaks into the sandy ocean floor to flush out small fish that dwell there, says a team led by biologist Janet Mann of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Foragers then drop their sponges, gobble up available fish and

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