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October 25 2012

Dolphin 'sponging' spans centuries


Bottlenose dolphins using sponges to protect their noses while foraging is a technique that the animals discovered in the 19th century, a study has found.

cientists analysed data on the dolphins of Shark Bay, Australia, to model the appearance and transmission of the skill over generations.

The study found that "sponging" could have begun with a single "innovation event" between 120 and 180 years ago.

It suggested that mothers passed on the skill by teaching their offspring.

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