Researchers from the University of Western Australia, University Zurich, and Murdoch University spent a decade studying the humpback dolphins off the coast of Australia and discovered surprising mating rituals.
The study found evidence that male humpback dolphins bring female dolphins large sea sponges — which they may use to fish — in an apparent effort to mate.
Researchers also discovered that, in some cases, male dolphins worked in pairs, or with wingmen, to help each other mate.
“It highlights to us that there is another species out there that is quite socially complex, more socially complex than we had previously recognized, and also that they engage in these complex behaviors,” Dr. Simon Allen, lead author of the study said in a video discussing his research.
“They are problem solvers, they are thinking animals, and there are these complex communities of animals that are just there, living just off our coast line, just beneath the waves.”
The researchers now hope to study whether bringing gifts increased the dolphins’ odds of getting lucky.
Watch the video of the dolphins bringing each other sea sponges below.