The fact that dolphins are intelligent mammals has been known for a number of years, but this latest observation has put them a step closer to humans.
Researchers at the University of Exeter in Southern Australia, recently revealed findings of a five-year study that shows that female dolphins don't just gobble down fish - instead they go through an elaborate and painstaking process, to make it edible, eerily similar to how we prepare our food.
Working in collaboration with British scientists, the team followed the eating routine of a female bottle-nose dolphin from 2003 to 2007. The dolphin, identified with special markings, would start with herding giant cuttlefish out of a tangled mess of seaweed and dragging it to a sandy sea floor.
Once there, she would kill it by pinning it down with her snout. Once the fish was dead, the dolphin would pound at it with her snout, draining it of the toxic foul-tasting black ink that cuttlefish use to defend themselves against predators.
The final step of this elaborate recipe was to beat it once more to get rid of the hard cuttlefish bone - and voila, the soft tasty calamari was ready to be served! Sounds like a recipe a gourmet chef would use, doesn't it?
While the study was done following just one dolphin, scientists believe this practice is pretty common among all dolphins, as evidenced by the number of clean cuttlefish bones found at the bottom of the ocean, whenever a pod of dolphins passes by.
This is not the first time scientists have been impressed by these intelligent animals. A few years ago, scientists observed dolphin moms teaching their kids how to break off sea sponges and use them to scour for food, on the ocean floor. They have also been seen removing spines from other fish and cutting up larger fish into bite-sized pieces before eating them. What amazing creatures!
Sources: Dailymail.co.uk, Yahoonews.com, National Geographic.com