In an effort to be accepted by their peers, dolphins located in Western Australia’s Shark Bay have been spotted “conching.” What is conching? Conching is a method used to catch fish by trapping them in a conch shell, bringing that shell to the surface and shaking that shell with your beak inside the conch so that the fish falls into your mouth. The curious part of conching is that this appears to be a learned behavior that other dolphins are observing and mimicking. Early conchers were doing this as early as 2007 but in the last four months there have been as many as seven documented conching instances. There is still much speculation as to the actual technique used underwater as scientists have only been able to observe “conching” from the surface.
“That’s significant on a few levels. For one, we already know dolphins are very intelligent creatures, but a horizontal spread of a learned behavior at this rate is pretty off-the-charts. Moreover, scientists appear to have gotten in on this fad at the ground floor (they were observing dolphins conching way before it was mainstream, bro), so they have the opportunity to observe this learned behavior as it spreads.”