[MARMAM] New paper: A novel mammalian social structure in Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops sp.): complex male alliances in an open social network

Srdan Randic randics at gmail.com
Wed Apr 4 03:19:08 PDT 2012


Dear Marmam readers,

The following paper has recently been published in the Proceedings of the
Royal Society B:

Randic, S., Connor, R. C., Sherwin, W. B., and Krutzen, M. (2012) A novel
mammalian social structure in Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins
(*Tursiops*sp.): complex male alliances in an open social network.
Proceedings of the
Royal Society B. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2012.0264

ABSTRACT:

Terrestrial mammals with differentiated social relationships live in
‘semi-closed groups’ that occasionally accept new members emigrating from
other groups. Bottlenose dolphins (*Tursiops* sp.) in Shark Bay, Western
Australia, exhibit a fission–fusion grouping pattern with strongly
differentiated relationships, including nested male alliances. Previous
studies failed to detect a group membership ‘boundary’, suggesting that the
dolphins live in an open social network. However, two alternative
hypotheses have not been excluded. The *community defence model* posits
that the dolphins live in a large semi-closed ‘chimpanzee-like’ community
defended by males and predicts that a dominant alliance(s) will range over
the entire community range. The *mating season defence* model predicts that
alliances will defend mating-season territories or sets of females. Here,
both models are tested and rejected: no alliances ranged over the entire
community range and alliances showed extensive overlap in mating season
ranges and consorted females. The Shark Bay dolphins, therefore, present a
combination of traits that is unique among mammals: complex male alliances
in an open social network. The open social network of dolphins is linked to
their relatively low costs of locomotion. This reveals a surprising and
previously unrecognized convergence between adaptations reducing travel
costs and complex intergroup–alliance relationships in dolphins, elephants
and humans.


The paper can be accessed via the website:
http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/early/2012/03/20/rspb.2012.0264

or via email requests to: Richard Connor (rconnor at umassd.edu) or Srđan
Randić (srdan.randic at u-psud.fr)


Best wishes,

Srđan

-------------------------

Srdan Randic

Laboratoire Ecologie, Systématique et Evolution
Université Paris-Sud XI
Batiment 362
F-91405 Orsay Cedex
France
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