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Study: Dolphins can problem solve like humans

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Posted at 6:04 AM, Aug 09, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-09 02:09:06-04

GRASSY KEY, Fla. (AP) — A dog may be man's best friend, but dolphins can imitate human actions, and even how they solve problems.

A recent study shows that when a dolphin has one of its senses blocked, it can use other senses to mimic a human's movements.

A bottlenose dolphin named Tanner was blindfolded and instructed to mimic the actions of a trainer in the water with him. When Tanner wasn't able to use sight to figure out the movement, he switched to another technique: emit sounds, listen to the echo and interpret the resulting sound waves. This ability — known as echolocation — allowed Tanner to replicate movements by the trainer.

The study, conducted at the Dolphin Research Center in Florida, expands on previous studies on how dolphins are able to imitate other dolphins while blindfolded.