Social structure of pilot whales revealed by analytical DNA profiling

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Science  30 Apr 1993:
Vol. 260, Issue 5108, pp. 670-672
DOI: 10.1126/science.8480176


Long-finned pilot whales swim in large, extremely cohesive social groups known as pods. Molecular typing revealed that pod members form a single extended family. Mature males neither disperse from nor mate within their natal pods, a situation unusual for mammals. Such behavior could be explained in terms of inclusive fitness benefits gained by adult males helping the large number of female relatives with which they swim.