Study shows dolphins able to cooperate to complete a task

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Humans aren't the only ones who know how to work in teams. Dolphins have that gift, too.

That's according to a new study by marine mammal researchers at the Dolphin Research Center in the Florida Keys.

Scientists tasked pairs of dolphins to swim across a lagoon and press black underwater buttons simultaneously.

The goal was to see if the dolphins could understand the task at hand and work together to get it done. The dolphins succeeded.

The Director of Research at Dolphin Research Center Dr. Kelly Jaakkola said they wanted to see if dolphins could actively cooperate.

“The game was the dolphins had to swim across the lagoon and press the button simultaneously, specifically within a one second time window,” Dr. Jaakkola explained. “The Dolphins didn't just succeed at this task. They were amazing at it. So by the end the difference in time between their button presses was just 370 milliseconds. That's about a third of a second. And that kind of precision shows that they didn't just cooperate. But then they actively coordinated in a super precise way to synchronize their behaviors.”

Besides sending the dolphins into the water as pairs, some of the tests involved sending one dolphin in the water without its partner.

Researchers say the dolphin in the water would wait for the other dolphin to jump in so they could press the buttons together.

Study results were published in a biological research journal of the Royal Society, a United Kingdom-based scientific academy.