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Percept Mot Skills. 1994 Dec;79(3 Pt 1):1307-15.

Trained motor imitation by bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus).

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  • 1Division of Social Sciences, New College of the University of South Florida, Sarasota 34243.


Each of two bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops truncatus, was trained to mimic a set of behaviors on command. They were tested on transfer of the mimic command to a set of familiar behaviors which they had not previously been commended to mimic. They were similarly tested on two novel behaviors. One dolphin demonstrated complete mimicry of 5 of 11 familiar behaviors; the other dolphin mimicked 1 of 9 behaviors. None of the mimicked behaviors was exhibited to an inappropriate model, suggesting that performance was not due to chance. Neither dolphin imitated the novel behaviors.

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