15 Oct 2012

Dolphins using sea sponges to catch fish

6:08 am on 15 October 2012

Researchers say a group of West Australian dolphins have taught each other to use sea sponges to catch fish for almost 200 years.

The ABC reports a small group of female dolphins in Shark Bay were first observed almost 30 years ago using sponges to protect their snouts while they dug through the sea bed to dislodge burrowing fish.

Computer modelling by the University of New South Wales has found the dolphins have been passing the skill down to their female offspring for at least eight generations, or almost 200 years.

Biologist Dr Anna Kopps said the study had shed light on how animals learn new skills.