Despite Having No Hands, Dolphins Are the Sushi Chefs of the Sea

By Boonsri Dickinson | February 2, 2009 1:44 pm

dolphin.jpg Last month, we reported that female dolphins had learned to use sponges to catch their prey. And now, it turns out that not only do dolphins use tools, but they also have a recipe for calamari.

Australian researchers have observed a female bottlenose dolphin using her snout to prepare a meal of cuttlefish. But instead of just gobbling up the fish, the dolphin carefully extracted its bones before dining—a display of chef-like skills that is extraordinary among marine mammals.

The feast took place in South Australia’s Upper Spencer Gulf, where cuttlefish breed. The researchers had first filmed this amazing culinary-enabled dolphin off the coast of South Australia in 2003, where they saw her preparing four different cuttlefish. They were able to identify her in 2007 by her scars (apparently the circular scars on her head were unique enough to identify her four years later). They recorded her meals with a Sony HD Cam video camera, and later used the footage to analyze her foraging behavior. The results were finally published in PLoS One in January of this year.

In case you wanted to know, here’s her recipe for cuttlefish:

1. Find cuttlefish in brown algae and place in an area with open sand.

2. Toss fish on sea floor.

3. Pin fish down with snout and toss until all bones are broken.

4. Pick up the body with snout and toss around until all ink is drained.

5. Remove any bones by scraping the fish along the sea floor.

6. Eat.

There’s reason to believe that there’s more than one chef out there: Researchers think other dolphins go to such lengths to prepare their meals too. It probably wasn’t a coincidence that researchers saw cuttlebones floating at the ocean’s surface when dolphins swam through.

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80beats: Neanderthals Ate Dolphins For Dinner

DISCOVER: Baywatch

Image: flickr/ MashGet

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