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.