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News of the Day: Dolphins Use Tools

2 minutes

(Describer) In sepia tones, under a round logo of a wave, title: Ocean Today.

(Describer) In an animation, a spinning newspaper has the title "Ocean Today News."

['20s style jazz playing]

(male announcer) It's your news of the day. Bringing some of the latest ocean headlines from around the world.

(Describer) One headline: Dolphins Use Tools!

Over the course of human evolution, mankind began using tools for hunting and gathering.

Well, step aside, Homo sapiens. Another mammal uses tools as well, and this one's not in a jungle, but the ocean.

(Describer) A dolphin raises its snout and head above the water's surface.

In Shark Bay, Australia, scientists have found dolphins using tools to find food. Wow! Flipping out yet? These bottlenose dolphins have been observed covering their beaks with basket sponges torn from the seafloor as they forage for food. This tool helps them uncover fish hiding in the sandy sea bottom and protects their snouts from scrapes and stings.

(Describer) In a photo, a scraped dolphin carries a sponge in its snout.

Researches say this behavior seems to be passed on from mother to daughter dolphin. And if sponging isn't enough to impress you, the dolphins have also been spotted using conch shells to trap tasty fish, then shaking their catch into their mouths. Guess their moms didn't teach them manners.

(Describer) Dolphins jump through waves.

Researchers are still studying all the reasons for these behavioral adaptations, but one thing is definitely clear-- There are different tools for different "porpoises." And that's your news of the day.

(Describer) Logos are shown for the Smithsonian and NOAA. Accessibility provided by the US Department of Education.

Accessibility provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

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In Australia, scientists have found dolphins using tools to find food. The bottlenose dolphin has been observed covering their beaks with basket sponges as they forage for food. The sponge helps them uncover fish hiding in the sandy sea bottom and protects their snouts from scrapes and stings. Part of the "News of the Day" series.

Media Details

Runtime: 2 minutes

News of the Day
Episode 1
2 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
News of the Day
Episode 2
2 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
News of the Day
Episode 3
2 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
News of the Day
Episode 4
2 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
News of the Day
Episode 5
2 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
News of the Day
Episode 6
2 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12