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A Friendly Life with the Dolphins

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A Friendly Life with the Dolphins
As a culture being a learned behavior for humans, it is for the animals as well. Humans have grown, evolved, adapted, and developed to survive; and their acquired skills and consistent improvements have accelerated such developments. Surprisingly, dolphins also have acquired such skills to live more convenient life by working with the humans. The article “Dolphins help fishermen to catch fish” describes how dolphins and fishermen work together. This article explains the special relationship between the fishermen and the dolphins in Laguna, Brazil, where dolphins help to catch fish by herding the group of mullet towards the fishermen, then signaling the right time to throw the nets (Welsh, 2012). This cooperation is noted to be very important and helpful for both parties’ survival, since they both depend on each other for catching fish, fish being the main source of income for the fishermen, whereas, fish being the main source of food for the dolphins (Welsh, 2012). Apparently, this teamwork with the dolphins had become the tradition for these Brazilian fishermen as they worked together for more than 15 years (Welsh, 2012).
This cooperative behavior of both has created a unique culture that both fishermen and dolphins pass on their tradition by teaching. From a cultural anthropological perspective, this is a very interesting issue since humans and dolphins do not share any biological similarities as they do with primates, like apes, monkeys, and etc.; and the only similarity between them are being mammals. The anthropological aspects that could be analyzed in this relationship are: their culture, behavioral and cultural adaptation, language, and pattern of subsistence.
According to a source, this fishing technique has been continuing for more than 150 years, as the first cooperative fishing took place in 1947 ("exploration films," 2008), which shows that this unique relationship had become the culture and the tradition for both the fishermen and the dolphins. Evidently, this community has continued its tradition by enculturation, where younger fishermen learn this technique from the elders, and it is repetitively carried on from one generation to another. Also, the enculturation applies equally to the “cooperative” dolphin society. These cooperative dolphins have done the same to pass on this tradition to the younger generation through social learning.
Both the fishermen and the dolphins have adapted to this environment behaviorally and culturally. Although it would be natural to be vigilant toward each other, they have eliminated such state by learning this behavior and the culture over time, adapting to their unique lifestyle. For example, from a different perspective, it may be possible for the fishermen to fill threatened or intimidated by thinking of dolphins as their competition for such limited resource. Instead, they accepted the existence of dolphins, and understood. Also, the fishermen have learned how to behave in dealing with the dolphins, such as being patient, and learned to appreciate them as well. As well as for dolphins, they have learned that this cooperation is not only beneficial for humans, but for themselves as well. They have learned that, by helping the fishermen, using this technique, they are able to catch fish more easily, by simply waiting for the fish, escaping the net, to arrive in their jaws.
Another example of behavioral adaptations includes their language. The dolphins have found the ways to communicate with the humans by signaling. This communication between them is very important as the successfulness of fishing depends on it. The dolphins signal to fishermen when to throw the net, when they have effectively herded the mullets. They signal by flapping their tales or heads against the surface, then the fishermen throws the net to the concentrated area. As well as the dolphins, the fishermen stay focused during this act for successful communication.
Moreover, they both share the same pattern of subsistence, food foraging. Although it is different in sense of fishermen since they are eligible to participate in other economical exchanges for living, yet for them, the only way to survive is through fishing. The local fishermen have supported their families by fishing, which being their only source of income. Likewise, dolphins live the foraging life as food being their priority, their survival depends on fishing. It is truly amazing how humans and dolphins have built such relationship and created a culture. They both have learned to be cooperative to achieve the better result, benefitting both societies. Their harmonious relationship had clearly become the culture for both the fishermen and the dolphins, and this teamwork of fishing also had become the tradition, where it serves as a main source of support for both of their livings.

Link: References:
Exploration films [Web]. (2008). Retrieved from
Welsh, J. (2012, May 01). Dolphins help fishermen to catch fish. MSNBC. Retrieved from…...

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