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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dolphins play football with a JELLYFISH

By Daily Mail Reporter

Dolphins have been filmed playing an impromptu game of football... using a jellyfish as an improvised ball.

A team of marine biologists were astonished to see a dolphin swim under a jellyfish and with a quick flick of its tail shoot it out of the water.

The bottlenose dolphins were caught on video performing the strange activity off the Welsh coastline. One dolphin was able to flip the jellyfish six feet up in the air.

Enlarge dolphin

The dolphins swim underneath the jellyfish in Cardigan Bay and then flick them upwards with their tails

Scientists believe their game of flipball goes back hundreds of thousands of years.
But it may go some way to explaining why dolphins in captivity are so skilful with balls at sealife parks around the world.

Marine experts Jonathan Easter, 23, who saw the dolphins at play, said: 'One thing is for sure, they were having fun. There were floating blobs of jelly and the dolphins were flipping them about.

'They swim under the jellyfish, then at the right moment flick their tail up to give it a good kick.

'They were not always accurate but when they had a direct hit the jellyfish were literally kicked out of the water.

'We have been studying individual dolphins in Welsh waters for some time but we got more than we expected from this trip.



A dolphin positions itself underneath a jellyfish before unceremoniously scooping it up out of the sea

'These incredible images provide a privileged insight into the lives and behaviour of bottlenose dolphins.

'But this behaviour has never been seen before and it presents more questions than answers!'

But there is a sting in the tail - some of the Barrel jellyfish sadly died from being flipped.

The marine biologists were from the Countryside Council for , Sea Watch Foundation and Marine Awareness North Wales.

They were studying Britain's largest coastal population of bottlenose dolphins, which live in Cardigan Bay during the summer to breed and feed.

Watch the fascinating footage here...