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Dolphins use sponges to dine on different grub

By carrying sponges in their beaks while they hunt, dolphins may be able to sweep away much more sand from the ocean floor and scare up new types of food. Analysis of the animal's fatty acids support this idea.

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Some bottlenose dolphins sport cone-shaped sea sponges in their beaks, a behavior that may help the animals hunt. New research confirms the idea, showing that sponging dolphins have different fatty acids and therefore different diets than dolphins from the same area that don’t use the tool.

The finding, which appears April 22 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, also supports the idea that dolphins can learn to use the tools, and possibly pass the behavior on as a social tradition, to access new sources of food.

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