I’ve never been one to have the best table manners. Even now, when I go out to eat with my mom or girlfriend and use utensils instead of eating with my hand, they make a big deal about how proud they are of me. And it used to make me feel good about myself. But now, upon learning that dolphins use tools to eat, that praise for using a fork is just not going to mean as much.
New studies by Janet Mann of Georgetown have shown that certain “dolphins dive to the bottom of deep channels and poke their sponge-covered beaks into the sandy ocean floor to flush out small fish that dwell there.” By spending 17% of their time dedicated to feeding with this sponge, these bottlenosed dolphins spend more time than any other nonhuman animal using tools. They are now trying to prove this is a learned behavior as, “All the daughters of female spongers took up sponging within the first few years of life, while still weaning. Male calves of these females rarely used sponges.” Men, figures.
This is the part of the article that stood out to me the most though, “Mann has studied sponge-carrying among Shark Bay dolphins since 1989. Until now, it was unclear what, if anything, sponges were used for”. I had to read that sentence twice to make sure I read it correctly the first time. This lady, Janet Mann, has been studying sponge-carrying among dolphins since 1989? For 19 years?! And only now has she figured out that they’re used for food? I mean, what were the other options? What else do dolphins do all day? Didn’t it have to be for food, reproduction or protection? And you can pretty much rule out the last two unless you have some kinky dolphins. How did it take 19 years to figure this out?
This story is good news for:
1. Janet Mann, who probably received numerous taunts throughout those 19 years of “you will never figure out what those sponges are used for!” But has finally been redeemed.
2. This Woman, because, I guess, marrying a dolphin is a little less weird once you know they will be doing all the food preperation.
3. Men Everywhere, because now we can say our laziness for not helping with dinner is inherit and can be found across all species and we actually have some science to back us up.