Pee-Tasting Dolphins: The Unexpected Way They Recognize Their Friends

By Martin B

A recent investigation has discovered that bottlenose dolphins commonly use urine samples to differentiate between familiar and unfamiliar individuals. Researchers from a Scottish university observed dolphins swimming through clouds of urine and observed that the urine from familiar dolphins received more attention than urine from unfamiliar ones.

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The authors of the study determined that dolphins have the ability to identify their companions by analyzing the substances in their bladder, in addition to using their commonly-known communication methods like whistling.

During the study, the dolphins were observed in interaction facilities situated in Bermuda and Hawaii, where they reside in seawater lagoons. The researchers analyzed the responses by utilizing urine samples obtained from identified members of a dolphin pod, as well as from other dolphins.

Dolphins spent three times as long taste-testing urine from their “friends” as they did with the other option.

The study’s results imply that investigating urine could assist dolphins in identifying both amiable companions and potential challengers, even in the absence of vocal cues. Nevertheless, the precise substance in their favored company’s urine that the dolphins are detecting remains unclear.

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Due to dolphins’ limited sense of smell, the possible causes of this urine detection could be the protein or lipid (fat) composition of the waste.

This research is part of a broader effort to understand the social behavior of dolphins, which are known for their high level of intelligence. While the idea of drinking pee might be unappealing to some, it is a necessary part of understanding the complex social dynamics of these fascinating creatures.

Further research into dolphin urine preferences will be needed to shed more light on this topic.