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Lemon sharks learn new skills by watching each other

Last Updated: Monday, September 10, 2012 - 17:33

London: US scientists have revealed that lemon sharks have the ability to learn from each other’s behaviour.
When the team compared the performance of inexperienced juvenile sharks working with both trained and untrained partners, they found that sharks working with trained partners could complete tasks more quickly and successfully.

The study is thought to be the first to demonstrate social learning in any cartilaginous fish, the BBC reported.

“It’s a pretty exciting finding that these little lemon sharks are able to pick up social cues from each other,” lead author Dr Tristan Guttridge from the University of Miami, Florida.

Social learning has already been widely demonstrasted among other species and animal groups including corvids, chimps and bats.

“In all these other animals it has been shown to be of real importance to different behavioural processes,” said Dr Guttridge, suggesting the same could be true for sharks.

“Sharks do migrate long distances and maybe there’s a social context to this as well,” he told BBC Nature, comparing his subjects with whales and dolphins that learn their migration routes through culture.

The biologist now hopes to better understand the processes that lemon sharks use to learn from each other.


First Published: Monday, September 10, 2012 - 17:32
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