In the 1980s it was discovered that some bottlenose dolphins in Shark Bay, Australia, rip up marine basket sponges from the seafloor and place them on their beaks for protection as they forage for food along rocky substrate. It is the only known instance of tool use by dolphins in the wild.
Now Janet Mann and Eric Patterson, biologists at Georgetown University, report that the dolphins do this because it allows them to uncover prey undiscoverable by echolocation.
Their research appears in the journal PLoS One.
From another article in the Times, this one via Ed’s Sentence of the Day™. Where’s my PLoS One tote bag?