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Dolphins meet most of these requirements in their foraging techniques, play behavior and vocal communication.
Populations of bottlenose dolphins, and the subgroups within them, show striking differences in foraging behavior.
Bottlenose dolphins are also well known for their strong capacity to observe and imitate both vocalizations and motor skills.
This strongly suggests that many behaviors are acquired though social learning.
One of those requirements is that a species engages in shared behaviors which vary between populations and are perpetuated across generations.
It is a gregarious species, displaying distinct shared behaviors among different groups, which appear to be passed on from mother to calf or between associated individuals.
Social learning is the most likely explanation for shared behavior in most cases, but lack of proof keeps this a speculation.
Further research is necessary to provide concrete evidence that these behaviors are truly passed on via social learning before science, as a whole, may accept culture in the bottlenose dolphin under the current definition.
These subgroups include: Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) are well known for the “plasticity” in their behavior and apparent cognitive ability (Reynolds, et al., 2000).
The discovery of these traits, coupled with the social nature of these animals, has led scientists to speculate whether or not bottlenose dolphins and other cetaceans have culture.
Unfortunately, the difficulty in studying cetaceans, which are predominantly out of sight, generates information that often leaves pieces missing. The bottlenose dolphin is the most well studied species within the order Cetacea, due to both extensive long term field research and observations taken in human care.