WATCH: The Secret Life of Dolphins Revealed in Exclusive Footage From Cutting-Edge Cameras
As an extremely intelligent creature with advanced cognition and communication systems, dolphins are one of the most intriguing -- not to mention delightful -- creatures in the animal kingdom. Knowledge on its behavior and interactions beneath the sea has been fairly limited, but a new study published in the journal Marine Biology shared more details about the underwater life of the friendly cetacean.
According to a report from Phys Org, researchers from University of Sydney's Charles Perkins Centre and the University of Alaska Southeast attached a custom-made non-invasive camera to the dolphins, getting an unprecedented and undisturbed glimpse at the marine creature's life. They were able to get over 535 minutes of video footage that includes activities such as mother-calf interaction, playing with kelp and intimate social actions like flipper-rubbing.
This particular peek into the marine world is significant as it allows humans a glimpse of the dolphins' natural behavior when they're left to their own devices. It's the first time in history, according to Dr Gabriel Machovsky-Capuska of the University of Sydney's School of Veterinary Science and Charles Perkins Centre.
"There were no wildlife crews, no invasive underwater housings -- and the dolphins remained largely unaffected by our cameras," he pointed out.
Machovsky added that this new method of observing animals in the wild without any human presence does not only give more understanding on wild predators and human nutrition, but also help in animal conservation.
The scientist used suction cups to attach the cameras to wild dusky dolphins off the coast of New Zealand from December 2015 to January 6. Distributed using long poles and Velcro pads, all of the camera systems had memory boards, high-frequency and satellite transmitters, time-depth recorders, and a six-hour battery life.
While it can be quite difficult to actually attach these cameras on the animals, the payoff is remarkable as this intimate look at dolphins can help scientists understand the marine environment and other creatures underwater.
Dolphin specialist Heidi Pearson explained that observing the animals from the surface limits humans to just 10 percent of a dolphin's life. This new glimpse on what goes on underwater can give researchers an idea of the threats to marine life.
"For example, in marine areas subjected to high degrees of human disturbance such as shipping or coastal development, the ability to collect data from the animal's perspective will be critical in understanding how and to what extent these stressors affect an animal's ability to feed, mate, and raise young," Pearson said.
A report from ABC News revealed that "shark cams" are next in line and currently being developed to monitor sharks in the New South Wales coastline.