Saturday, August 27, 2011

dolphins swimming badly

Since the mid 80s Denise Herzing has been studying the spotted dolphins who live in the clear waters off the Bahamas. To help fund the project the research boat makes room for a handful of non-scientist observers, or “passengers,” as Herzing calls them in this discussion about mimicry in the new book Dolphin Diaries:

Humans in the water often try to ‘dolphin’ swim, which means keeping your legs together and undulating from the waist. For the most part we are pretty bad at it, jerkily swimming while barely moving through the water. As a well-meaning passenger followed a spotted dolphin trying to get his dolphin kick right, a second dolphin followed the human, but the dolphin used jerky and awkward movements mimicking the struggling human – a dolphin mimicking a human mimicking a dolphin!

source: Dolphin Diaries: My 25 Years with Spotted Dolphins in the Bahamas by Dr Denise L. Herzing

You can also check in on Herzing and the dolphins at the website for The Wild Dolphin Project.

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