Games Dolphins Play

Dolphin blowing bubble ringsRecently, I posted an article about the discovery that dolphins possess language & music skills previously thought to be unique to humans.   Today, an interesting tidbit over on Clive Thompson’s Collision Detection blog goes even further to establish just how sophisticated dolphin intellect may be.   Stan Kuczaj, a psychologist with the University of Southern Mississippi and his colleagues revealed in a paper to appear in the International Journal of Comparative Psychology, findings that dolphins play games!

According to the World Science article Dolphin Games: More Than Child’s Play?, dolphins play a wide variety of games that show remarkable cooperation and creativity that may help young dolphins learn their place the social dynamics of the group.   What’s more, they seem to deliberately make their games increasingly difficult, continually stimulating their development and enhancing the learning experience.   Kuczaj’s group suggests that game play in dolphins facilitates the development and maintenance of problemsolving skills, perfect motor skills, and helps them to recognize and manipulate characteristics of their environment.