Dolphins: Chefs of the Sea

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 31, 2009 11:56 AM CST
Trained dolphins, unlike their wild brethren, receive multiple treats as they complete complex routines.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – A bottlenose dolphin that researchers have been tracking since 2003 follows a complex regimen when preparing a meal of cuttlefish, National Geographic reports. The female dolphin, caught on tape off the coast of Australia, first kills the squid-like creature, shakes it to remove indigestible ink, and then scrapes its catch on the seafloor to remove a pesky bone. Only then is it dinnertime.

Cleaned cuttlefish bones have been found on the ocean surface after a pod of dolphins swims through, leading researchers to believe that the intricate practice is taught among them. “It's an example of quite sophisticated behavior,” said a co-author of a study on the subject, noting that the limbless marine mammals have adapted their snouts to complex tasks. “A dolphin is like a genius trapped in the body of a fish.”