Take a lesson from dolphins: Ladies, stick together


Female dolphins do better when they work with their pod-mates.

The veterinary practice can be a dangerous place. It's full of shark-like clients who wear you down. And then there are competitors of your own species—team members who backstab, gossip and hinder, rather than help, at the hospital. But if team members are anything like their dolphin counterparts, cooperation might be better than competition.

A 25-year study of dolphin genetics and socialization habits has revealed that female dolphins that stick together with distant relatives or strangers in their pods fare better in reproduction. We know you're not fighting to procreate in the halls of your veterinary hospital, but there's more: Sticking together protects female dolphins in all sorts of hostile situations.

"Dolphins in this population are attacked by sharks, so protection by other females may help," says Australian researcher Bill Sherwin, PhD. "But the females may need protection against their own species as well, especially when they are younger."

Forget the back-biting. Women who watch each other's backs come out better in the end, whether it's dolphin pods in the sea or veterinary clinics in the suburbs.

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