Bottlenose dolphins have been found to use sponges and shells as tools for foraging, but this behavior, using them as gifts, was not expected, CNN reported.
Researchers observed the males presenting, even tossing the sponges, to the female. Some also got into a position called the “banana pose,” where they go to the surface, and lie on their back, with their heads and tails arched up like a stomach crunch.
They also have “wingmen” who help the courting males keep the females interested in the primary male, or protected from other males.
“This formation of alliances between adult males for the purposes of coercing females is uncommon, since mating success cannot be shared,” Stephanie King told CNN. King is the co-author in the study and a research fellow at the Centre for Evolutionary Biology, University of Western Australia.