In all dolphin species, young dolphins aren’t born with the skills necessary
to fend for themselves. In fact, the mortality rate for dolphin calves
is 50% in the first year. What they are born with is the ability to mimic
and mirror whatever their mother does. And this is how they learn to survive.
The calf becomes mom’s shadow - imitating her every move, pose, posture,
and action. If mom stands up on her tail, so does her calf. Come on, parents
– don’t you wish you could get this kind of cooperation? Of all the skills
that mom has to teach Junior, the most important one is how to find food.
She gives it instructions, which sound like this... When fish hear her,
they run for cover, burrowing themselves into the sand. The dolphins then
utilize what’s called echo-location... a kind of dolphin sonar system where
their voice echoes back, giving them a clear idea what fishy delights lie
beneath the surface. As mom looks for food, her calf continues to mimic
her every move. Another technique for the young ones to master – hydroplaning
in the shallows. These dolphins rocket along at tremendous speeds, their
bodies half-in and half-out of the water. Now, watch just how effective
this technique is for catching fish. Ow! Gotcha! Effective, yes. But not
all dolphins have mastered the art of hydroplaning. And those who have
get to show off a little. They toss the catch and play with it. And they
parade it underwater, too. Now, why doesn’t another dolphin try to grab
it? This might be a ritual to establish trust... or maybe the other dolphins
just wanna avoid getting into a fight. So this is the last thing the dolphin
calf learns from mom. Playing with your food is not only okay – it gives
you status with your fellow dolphins.