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TDRF scientists find evidence for consistent leadership in bottlenose dolphin groups

Dolphins TravelingBottlenose dolphins live in groups that change composition frequently. This is beneficial because each individual can move according to its particular needs.  Because of this, regular leadership by the same individuals is not expected. However, if some individuals have more knowledge about how to locate resources, (like food) individuals may learn that it is beneficial to follow those with more experience on a frequent basis.

Bottlenose dolphins in the Lower Florida Keys (LFK) live in a highly complex
environment, which requires a significant amount of learning. It is possible that under these conditions, use of individuals who have more area familiarity as leaders is beneficial.  This may be the reason behind our latest findings: that a subset of individuals lead more than others consistently in
LFK dolphin groups.