Without these individuals, the cohesion of the dolphin group falls apart, researchers have discovered.
The finding may mean that capturing wild dolphins or killer whales for marine parks could have a serious impact on their companions left behind. Details of the study, by a UK and US research team, are outlined in New Scientist magazine, informs BBC. co.uk
According to Reuters.com ecologist David Lusseau of the University of Aberdeen and physicist Mark Newman of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, found the socialite role while studying dolphins in New Zealand.
When two of the animals disappeared for a while pods that had previously socialized ceased doing so. When they reappeared, the groups got back together again.
The scientists said their findings could have implications for zoologists taking animals from the wild. Removing a key individual could damage an entire group, they concluded.