NOV 17, 2019 8:27 AM PST

Dolphins Utilize Physics and Shorelines to Hunt for Prey

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Bottlenose dolphins are known for their intelligence, and their behavior in the natural habitat never fails to amaze even the most invested of marine animal scientists. But while most people imagine these animals chasing after fish in the water just to swallow them whole, many are out there doing incredible things to ensure predatory success.

In this particular environment, bottlenose dolphins are observed using the laws of physics to their advantage. They work unbelievably well as a team, forcefully generating small waves that force small schools of fish on the muddy shoreline and then carefully beaching themselves in such a way that they can eat their prey and return to the water without a hitch.

For this to work, the dolphins must be incredibly careful to balance shoreline steepness with texture at just the right tidal condition. There are far too many razor-sharp shells along the coast that pose an injury risk, and if the shoreline they choose is too flat, they risk being unable to return to the water. The ideal shoreline is one that is soft and slightly slanted, but not so much that their prey slide back into the water around them.

As the fish are thrown from the water to the shoreline, the dolphins aren’t the only creatures eating what they’ve captured. So too are opportunistic seabirds that swoop in at the very last second to take from the serving tray. The dolphins don’t seem to mind, however, as they’ve managed to capture several fish at once.

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
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