Next time anyone calls you out for gossiping too much, simply blame it on biology: Like humans, whales and dolphins also seem to enjoy getting drunk on gossip.
As the Guardian reports, a new study says whales and dolphins have complex brains that are “human-like” in many aspects, including social and cultural characteristics. Published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, the study found that the “cultural brain hypothesis” — which is a theory that human intelligence was developed to cope with social groups — can be applied to dolphins and whales.
The bigger the species’ brain, according to researchers, the more likely they are to hunt together, develop regional dialects, form friendships, and learn from observation. Per the Guardian:
The researchers gathered records of dolphins playing with humpback whales, helping fishermen with their catches, and even producing signature whistles for dolphins that are absent – suggesting the animals may even gossip.
The researchers noted that — like humans — dolphins, whales, and porpoises are believed to do most of their learning socially, rather than independently. “It is interesting to think that whale and human brains are different in their structure but have brought us to the same patterns in behavior,” Luke Rendell, a University of St. Andrews biologist who wasn’t involved in the study, told the Guardian.
Can’t wait until these messy mammals get their own Bravo franchise.