Wild dolphins in Australia are by nature learning to "walk" on water.

Six dolphins have now been seen mastering the process - furiously paddling their tail fluke, forcing their body out and across the water.

The dolphins seem to walk on water for fun, as it's no other obvious benefit, say scientists working for the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society. That makes the behaviour a rare example of animals "culturally transmitting" a playful rather than foraging behaviour.

Only a few species are known to create their own culture - defined as the sharing or transmitting of specific novel behaviours or traditions between a community of animals.

The discovery was made by Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) scientist Dr Mike Bossley, who's spent 24 years studying dolphins living in the Port River in Adelaide, Australia. In past years, Dr Bossley has witnessed 2 wild adult female dolphins, named Billie and Wave for research purposes, attempting to walk on water.

Now 4 other dolphins, including yougn infants, have been recorded trying to learn the trick from the 2 adults, and have been seen practising, less successfully, in the river.

The behaviour, when a dolphin beats its tail fluke repeatedly, so it lifts its body vertically out of the water and then along the surface, is more commonly seen among captive dolphins trained to perform tricks.


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