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08 December 2023

Dolphins love watching TV

Photo: Bang

By Bang

Dolphins love watching television, researchers have found.

A study at the Dolphins Plus Marine Mammal Responder in Key Largo, Florida saw the animals played videos on a screen through underwear windows.

As well as scenes from Sir David Attenborough's nature series 'Planet Earth', they were also shown similar programmes and animated favourite 'Spongebob Squarepants'.

Researchers - who wrote about their findings in the journal Zoo Biology - monitored the dolphins' behaviour and looked for signs of interest including nodding their heads or pressing them against the glass, or more aggressive signals like clamping their jaws.

they wrote: "Rough‐toothed dolphins displayed significantly more behaviors, particularly interest and bubble behaviors, than bottlenose dolphins, with no differences observed between the species for the percentage of time spent watching

"Among bottlenose dolphins, males watched the television longer, and responded behaviorally significantly more, displaying a higher rate of bubble and aggressive behaviors than females."