Photo credit: Simon J Allen
We are pleased to share our recent paper in PNAS on strategic intergroup alliances in male bottlenose dolphins:
RC Connor, M Krützen, SJ Allen, WB Sherwin and SL King (2022). Strategic intergroup alliances increase access to a contested resource in male bottlenose dolphins. Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences 119 (36), e2121723119.
This research shows that male bottlenose dolphins form the largest known multi-level alliance network outside humans, and that dolphins benefit from intergroup cooperation. This is striking because intergroup cooperation was thought to be unique to humans and dependent upon two other features that distinguish us from our common ancestor with chimpanzees: the evolution of pair bonds and parental care by males. However, our work shows that intergroup cooperation can emerge without these features in a chimpanzee-like, promiscuous mating system.
The paper is free to access and can be found here.