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Orcas Evolve Based On Culture

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The amazing marine mammals handover their clever hunting tactics to teach their offspring survival skills...

Orcas are amongst the most intelligent creatures on this planet; occasionally referred to as killer whales, but in actual fact they are dolphins!

At the University of Bern in Switzerland researchers have now discovered that orca populations have developed their hunting skills throughout history due to knowledge passed down from their genetic ancestors.

This cultural experience contributes in the shaping of different groups of these majestic creatures and impacts their biological evolution.

Adult orcas handover their clever hunting tactics to teach their offspring survival skills. This is a form of cultural transfer.

Various groups of orcas have different hunting strategies, which indicates variations in culture. This is something that has only been witnessed within the human race.

There are many elements that contribute difference in cultures amongst orcas just like in us humans. Environmental elements such as food availability, temperatures as well as being dispersed around the world all contribute to difference in culture.

Similar to humans, these apex predators permanently settle in an area, which naturally form communities. Through these communities, orcas cultivate and specialise in the way they hunt.

Different hunting techniques have been recorded within different orca cultures, many of which are extremely sophisticated showing how intelligent they really are. Some will direct their prey into ball pits whereas others will beach themselves in order to gain attention of seals and other forms of prey.

Although culture has been detected in other species, the culture found in humans and now orcas is held in in high regard as it contributes to push their biological evolution.

Researchers found the genomes of orcas, which is the set of chromosomes in an organism, can be characterised by the different cultural groups. Their findings showed this to be apparent due to geographical spread or orcas dispersed around the globe.

The amazing depth and intelligence levels these creatures posses is over-whale-ming if you ask us!

Photograph by Robert Pittman/NOAA

How do I toilet train my cat

I rescued an adult female, desexed cat six months ago. Apparently she’s always been an outside cat. I have another cat who is mostly indoors and I would only let outside during the day if I was home. Luna didn’t like being indoors and wasn’t using the litter tray properly. I had her confined in the bathroom for a few days to get use to it and she would go next to it, rarely in it. She will sometimes use a tray otherwise will urinate or poop on the floor. I am at wits end. I have two trays, I’ve changed the type of litter, put dirt in the tray, picked up the poop and put it in the tray to show her that where it goes. I’ve used spray in the tray to attract her to want to use the tray. I bought felliway diffuser which is meant to calm cats and have also used the rescue remedy drops in her food. I’ve recently moved house where there is a cat enclosure so she can go in and out when ever she pleases but still goes in the kitchen (as I now close the bathroom door when she started going to the toilet in there), but tonight I noticed she’s been going in the spare room if anything is left on the floor which is carpeted. So I’ve now cleared that whole room to prevent her from going to the toilet. She is still going in the kitchen. I’ve tried cleaning the area and eliminating her scent by using water and vinegar then once dry use bi carb soda and hydrogen peroxide and it has made no difference. She’s been tested for a bladder infection which came up negative. I love animals. I have another cat which she now gets along with and two dogs which she is still getting use to. I don’t know what else to do and I don’t want to give her up but feel like I will have no choice.