Divers Saw Two Dolphins Swimming Together While Holding Hands


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In order to examine the Florida Keys Reef Tract, Erika Jarvis and a group of divers from OceanX, a non-profit ocean exploration program, ventured out a few weeks ago. A group of five dolphins made the decision to follow them as they departed the Miami port.

Jarvis pulled out her phone to take a photo of two of the dolphins as they came within touching distance of the boat’s bow.

Credit: INSTAGRAM/OCEANX

“They stayed with us for a really long time — about half an hour,” Jarvis, the director of social media at OceanX, told The Dodo. “There were about 20 of us up on the bow, peering down … The purser (the person who takes care of all the ship administration), who was standing next to me, looked at me and went, ‘Did. You. Get. That?’”

Back on land, Jarvis got in touch with a cetacean expert to learn more about the underwater hand-holding she had seen.

Fin-to-fin contact is really a sign of social bonding, especially amongst females in male-biased groups, Jarvis said on Instagram. “While it may appear like these bottlenose dolphins coasting with the wake on our bow are participating in a competitive handshake,” Jarvis wrote.

Credit: INSTAGRAM/OCEANX

According to a 2006 research, “contact swimming” between bottlenose dolphins of the same gender is not all that unusual. Female dolphins can benefit from the underwater handshake in a number of ways, including stress reduction, mobility help, and cooperative signals.

Jarvis could see that this group of dolphins had a distinct social structure and strong familial ties. The females demonstrated their unwavering support for one another by touching fins.

Jarvis said, “Their tiny synchronised breach really makes it extra lovely.


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