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BOTH: We are Dr Chris and Dr Xand van Tulleken.
And we're tracking down the most awesome...
BOTH: ..and epic things in the universe!
BOTH: Come with us and discover unbelievable things
that will Blow Your Mind!
Blow Your Mind will be bringing you all the top experts on the planet.
From icebergs to elephants, spaceships to sharks.
And, this week, it's all about amazing animals.
So, hold on to your brains, here's what's coming up.
This time, we'll be looking at one of the cleverest animals of all -
We'll see some dolphins that like to hold hands.
Others that think they're pretty good looking.
we'll meet a dolphin that can see without using it's eyes.
I'm going to tell you a joke in dolphin language.
What is that?
The joke in English is, what do you call a fish with no eyes?
-I don't know.
-That was terrible. But, this isn't.
-We're about to meet a dolphin with no eyes.
-What, a dolphn?
No, actually this dolphin's just had his eyes covered up.
It's an experiment they do at the Dolphin Research Centre in Florida.
Chris Packham went to find out more.
I've come to the Dolphin Research Centre in Florida to see
something that dolphins can do with their sense of hearing.
Now, it's hard to study dolphins in the open ocean,
but keeping them in captivity is controversial.
And, since 1988,
aquariums in the United States don't take dolphins from the wild.
Dolphins like Tanner were born in captivity.
Tanner, are you ready?
No? Yes, you are ready.
Researchers Armando and Wade want to show me
an ingenious experiment to demonstrate how Tanner uses sound.
I have a list of the behaviours right here, now, I can't see them.
Please don't show them to me but you are going to point out...
'I'm going to select an action from
'a list for Wade to perform in the water.'
Wade, go head in.
I'm only showing Wade.
Armando and Tanner have no idea which one he's about to do.
-OK, Wade, let's go for this one, please. OK?
With his eyes covered, Tanner will now attempt to imitate Wade.
Then the other one will go on the left eye,
but I have to give him the signal first, which means imitate.
Are you ready? Imitate.
So, will Tanner know what Wade is doing?
There he goes, Wade is upside down and Tanner is upside down as well.
-Upside down, in the water.
-That's one out of one.
'OK, that's one out of one, but for something this bizarre,
I need a little more proof.'
-Shall we try another?
-Try another one?
-Let me put the eye cup on.
-Let's go for this one then, Wade.
'Tanner appears to take a moment to listen before
imitating Wade's exact movements.'
Pretty impressive, I have to say.
'And for the piece de resistance, the bob.'
-Now, watch. He's reading.
-Yeah, he's reading, without a shred of a doubt.
He's reading without seeing. There's no question of that.
And getting it right.
-Good boy, Tanner.
-Wade, thank you very much, thank you.
Tanner, you are the best.
Wow, so it's as if Tanner the dolphin can sense what Wade's
movements are without seeing them. How is he doing that?
Well, scientists believe that he's using sound in an amazing way.
It's called echolocation.
And this is how dolphins do it.
It's all because of this.
A specialised, fat filled organ called
the melon, behind their forehead, gives off sound waves.
But the key to echolocation is the dolphin listening to the
echoes of those sound waves as they come back.
Dolphins pick up sound waves in a special cavity in their jaw
that amplifies them before sending them to their inner ears.
They use echolocation to hunt down and pinpoint prey.
Even in darkness.
So, Tanner is making clicks and then listening to the
reflection of that sound off Wade's body, the echo.
And he can then use that echo to work out the movements that
Wade is making. It's as if he's seeing with his hearing.
That's right, that's right.
Now, you might think that echolocation is something that
only dolphins can do but, in fact, you can do it a tiny bit as well.
If you imagine standing in a room and shouting, you could tell
whether that room was a big room like a sports hall or a small
room like your bedroom just from listening to the echo.
And in fact, some people with visual problems have learned to make
clicks, a bit like a dolphin, and they can use
the reflection of that sound to find objects in the world near to them.
But that isn't the only thing that's amazing about dolphins.
Check out how they behave with their friends.
Now, everyone knows that dolphins have amazing abilities
but just how intelligent are they?
In order to find out, Chris and the local researchers want to see how
they act in their social group,
sort of like how you would act with your friends at school.
And, today, Chris gets to live out a childhood dream.
Swimming with wild dolphins for the very first time.
Look at the conditions, the suns shining, the sea is blue
and these stunning animals are just about 10m behind me,
I'm itching to get in, itching.
We're lucky and we are quickly surrounded by a pod of 16
dolphins from the Bimini group.
And the dolphins swarm around, creating bubbles with their tails.
But then they do something strange.
They start to use their beaks to push each other through the water.
When you look at their behaviour from different angles,
a surprising story of complex social relationships emerges.
What appeared to be a random ball of eight dolphins actually
contains three friends.
Dolphins create a strong bond between each other by touching
each others pectoral fins, sort of like holding hands.
Billy and Tim are best friends.
The researchers have tracked them for a long time and they know
that both are 13, best mates and the main members of this dolphin group.
Here, they're doing that strange pushing behaviour again.
A young male presents his belly to five others.
We know that one of these is
a seven-year-old male who's
called number 95.
Together, they use their beaks to push the other dolphin
through the water.
They repeat this behaviour half a dozen times.
Here, Speedy the dolphin is involved in the pushing.
Why the dolphins do this is a mystery.
The researchers think it might be that the dolphins are actually
playing with each other, it's a bit like a ritual to welcome new
dolphins into the group.
So dolphins are lot like human beings.
They have friends, they like to hold hands,
-they even like to play and muck around.
-Yeah, and that's not all.
What they do when they want a snack with blow your mind!
In these shallow waters, further down the coast of Florida,
individual dolphins find it hard to catch the fast moving fish.
But watch what happens when they act as a group.
One dolphin swims in a circle,
it whips up a wall of muddy water the corrals any fish inside.
Three wait, anticipating what the other is doing.
The fish are driven right into their mouths.
They've cleverly worked out an efficient way to catch fish.
This is extraordinary group behaviour.
So that's amazing.
Basically what the dolphins are doing is taking it in turns,
wiggling their fins and scaring the fish
so much that the fish actually jump into the other dolphins mouths.
Yeah, it's absolutely extraordinary, isn't it?
It's almost as if they've had a conversation beforehand
to, like, discuss what they're going to do.
Yeah, like one of the dolphins goes,
"Right, lads, we're going to get together, you're going to go
"there, I'm going to wheel my fins
"and then we're going to get the fish. Right?"
Right. The dolphin from east London, in Florida.
-Well, he might be on holiday.
OK, well, let's find out more about how the dolphins work in groups.
I've come to the National Aquarium in Baltimore.
Aquariums in the United States don't take any dolphins from the wild,
except for the occasional stranding.
The head trainer, Allison Ginsberg, is introducing me to Nonny.
Each of the animals may know up to 65-70 different hand gestures that
correlate to different behaviours that we would like them to perform.
So you offer them the gesture and they produce the behaviour.
Correct, so take your fingers like this
and you're just going to wiggle them.
Very nice. We'll do one more, take your hands like this
-and you're going to wave them at her.
-What about that.
-And she knows up to 70 gestures?
Wow, so those dolphins are pretty smart.
They can recognise signals and commands, which must be pretty
useful if you're swimming in a pod with other dolphins.
Well, yeah, it is, but, each dolphin also needs some individuality
so that they know what they're meant to be doing in the pod.
So, do you think each dolphin can tell itself from the other dolphins?
Well, that is a really interesting question.
Chris Packham went to find out by hiding in a secret chamber
so he could spy on the dolphins.
This is the observation chamber here at the aquarium.
It's cramped, but we're going to get some fantastic views.
Now he's going down to the bottom
but the other one turns around and comes right back.
-The beautiful bubble ring.
These dolphins have learned to make their own bubble rings.
It's a clever enough trick,
but Diana wants to investigate something far more fundamental.
Do dolphins recognise themselves as individuals?
Diana places a one-way mirror inside the observation window to
test the dolphins.
So now we're looking through a window
and they'll be seeing the mirror.
They aren't looking at us, that's the key thing.
-They're looking at themselves.
-They're looking at themselves.
Wow, look at that.
Look at him twisting his body to look at himself.
He's loving himself. That's one vain dolphin you've got there.
Dolphins don't behave like this if they simply meet another dolphin.
This suggests that they understand that what they're seeing
isn't another animal but a reflection of themselves.
One action never normally seen
if they meet another individual is fin wiggling.
-Do you see that weird pectoral fin?
-Look at this.
This is not normal for a dolphin.
Now, that is very weird.
That is amazing.
Well, I don't blame them,
that's what I like to do when I look in the mirror.
Well, you're lucky you can, apart from humans there are only
three kinds of animals that can recognise themselves in the mirror.
-Chimpanzees, dolphins and elephants, and that's it.
-What about dogs?
-Surely dogs can?
-No, not dogs.
-What about salamanders?
No, not dogs, not salamanders, not dragons, not mermaids, not unicorns,
none of your favourite animals can recognise themselves in the mirror.
And that's what makes it so amazing that the dolphins can.
-Well, I really liked seeing them show off.
-Well, so did I.
And, if you enjoyed that, then you're not going to
believe your eyes this afternoon when we discover magnetic sharks.
Magnetic sharks? They don't exist.
Oh, yes, they do, so join us later and we'll Blow Your Mind.