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Mirror image processing in three marine mammal species: Killer whales (Orcinus orca), false killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) and California sea lions (Zalophus californianus)






Behavioural Processes 53(3): 181-190

Mirror image processing in three marine mammal species: Killer whales (Orcinus orca), false killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) and California sea lions (Zalophus californianus)

Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and their relatives might be expected to show mirror-induced contingency checking, a prerequisite to self-recognition, because of their high brain development, their complex social life and their demonstrated abilities in bodily imitation. A study of killer whales'(Orcinus orca) behaviour in front of a mirror is presented, including a mark test. Shorter investigations of mirror behaviour are also described in false killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) and California sea lions (Zalophus californianus). Contingency checking was present in killer whales and possibly also in false killer whales, but no clear contingency checking was observed in sea lions. The mark test on killer whales suggested that the marked animal anticipated that its image would look different. This study shows that killer whales and false killer whales, like bottlenose dolphins, appear to possess the cognitive abilities required for self-recognition.

Accession: 010989839

PMID: 11334706

DOI: 10.1016/s0376-6357(01)00134-6

Download PDF Full Text: Mirror image processing in three marine mammal species: Killer whales (Orcinus orca), false killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) and California sea lions (Zalophus californianus)



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