Dolphins Can Imitate Action Without Seeing It (Video)

Written by on April 1, 2015 in Marine Life, Whales & Dolphins

Over 37,000 Middle Schoolers Select Film Contest Winners
1st Place (Category 2): Dolphin Research Center Blindfold Imitation Study

The Ocean 180 Video Challenge is an annual contest that encourages scientists to create and share three-minute (180-second) videos about their published ocean research. The contest is designed to inspire scientists to share the significance and relevance of their research with a bigger audience, focusing on what the research means for the non-scientific community.

Ten finalists were selected by the Wave 1 Judging team, a panel of science and communication experts. Four winners were then selected by the Student Judging Team, which was comprised of 37,795 middle school students from 1,600 classrooms in 21 countries. Each of the four winners will be awarded a portion of a $9,000 prize package to “honor their work in communicating science to the public.” The videos were judged based on creativity, message, and educational value.

Bottlenose dolphin. Photo credit: NASA.

Bottlenose dolphin. Photo credit: NASA.

The first place winner in Category 2 (entries with professional film making assistance), Dolphin Research Center Blindfold Imitation Study, is a film about imitation in the animal kingdom.

Dolphins are one of only a few species that can imitate motor actions. In a study published in the International Journal of Comparative Psychology (Blindfolded Imitation in a Bottlenose Dolphin, Tursiops truncatus), researchers explored whether dolphins could imitate a movement without seeing it. By blindfolding a dolphin and asking it to copy the movements of another dolphin, the researchers demonstrated that dolphins have problem-solving abilities that have never been seen outside of humans before. Watch the video to learn more.

Copyright © 2015 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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